Big Deals for Howard

If Dwight Howard is determined to leave the Magic, then Orlando needs to get something of lasting value in return. Another superstar NBA player who can dunk a basketball? Puhleeze. He’ll only leave as soon as he can, despite declaring his devotion to Orlando and his fans here, and saying he can’t imagine playing anywhere else. That is, until his contract is up.

Face it, we’re a small market, a proverbial rung in the ladder that a superstar basketball player steps on in his climb to big-league cities where celebrities and world championships go hand in velvet glove. We might as well accept that any future NBA Hall of Famer with the Magic will finish his career elsewhere.

So, let’s not trade for another big man with big dreams of bright lights and red carpets. For Howard, we want a game-changer for the city’s prestige. If the trade were in my hands, here’s what I would ask for from the teams for whom Howard has said he will play: 

Los Angeles—The Kardashian sisters. Their mom and scary-looking stepdad, former Olympian Bruce Jenner, can stay in L.A. and watch Howard play for the Lakers. With the alliterative sisters Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, Orlando is on the map as the reality TV stars’ home base of nonstop need for attention. As per stipulations of the trade, the talentless siblings will have to talk about themselves ad nauseam, plus have to date, marry, divorce and repeat the cycle in Orlando, with landmarks like the Lake Eola Fountain and Church Street Station and theme parks placed in episodes as scenery but really meant to promote tourism. 

New Jersey—What we’ll take in exchange for giving Howard to the Nets are Princeton University and Bruce Springsteen. We’ll throw in the to-be-built downtown Creative Village educational development and former boy-band singer Joey Fatone to sweeten the deal. Princeton gives Orlando Ivy League cachet and raises the collective IQ of Central Florida by at least 100 points while Springsteen makes Orlando a cool town to call home. The deal also would require that the school move its football program to a BCS conference in an effort to draw locals to the hallowed campus. Springsteen just has to say he’s from here. 

Dallas—The Grassy Knoll, Mary Kay cosmetics’ headquarters and a Texas-sized ego. That’s a lot to ask in return for sending Howard to the Mavericks, but they only do big deals in Big D. With the Grassy Knoll we get a key part of the conspiracy theory surrounding the JFK assassination. Let’s put it on I-Drive outside Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Relocating Mary Kay’s HQ to Orlando gives us bragging rights as the beauty capital of the world, bringing pink Cadillacs to our roads and heavily made-up women to the social scene. A big ego would help the city get over its inferiority complex.

Go ahead, mock my fantasy trades as utter nonsense and of no value to the Orlando Magic, or, to put them in perspective with reality, about as helpful to the team’s chances of winning a championship as Gilbert Arenas.

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