Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson made headlines when Jeff Van Gundy, who was commentating for ESPN, made a big fuss during Wednesday’s Magic-Knicks telecast about them not participating in the Magic huddle during a timeout in the latter stages the Magic’s 108-86 blowout loss. On Friday, Howard, Nelson and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy commented on the episode, expressing some regret but conceding that it didn’t deserve the backlash it received.
“Jeff Van Gundy’s not our coach, so what he says doesn’t really matter. What Stan says matters,” Howard said.
“I probably should have been in the huddle,” Nelson added.
“It’s my job to get in the huddle, to be a leader.”
Van Gundy said he didn’t see Howard and Nelson away from the huddle, but acknowledged that it’s something that happens plenty of other times across the league. He added that he didn’t address the incident with his co-captains but said, “It’s not a good thing.”
“We were down by 30,” Howard said. I’m pretty sure the reason we lost wasn’t the fact that me and Jameer weren’t in the huddle. There’s no need to make a big deal about it. We could have been in the huddle. We should have been in the huddle. But it’s over with.”
Apparently everybody seems to have learned from this. But, sadly, it looks like Howard misses the point. This isn’t about winning or losing. This was about being respectful to your teammates and coaches and having the proper decorum in the face of defeat. Both players should have been up with their teammates. Don’t expect Howard and Nelson to make the mistake again.
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