"The Star-Spangled Banner's going on right now and I don't celebrate that shit. I'm black." – Josh Howard
That was the phrase that will haunt Josh Howard for at least the rest of the NBA offseason. His comment was not only naive and ignorant, but just plain unnecessary. Why Josh, after all the incidents this past postseason and offseason, would you look at a camera and make these comments? Since the playoffs began against the New Orleans Hornets last April, Josh Howard has done the following:
Played dreadful in the opening series against the Hornets, going 29 percent from the floor (including just 10 percent from behind the arc) in just 12 points per game. One could previously argue that while Dirk is the face of the franchise, Howard could possibly be the most valuable player. That argument is long forgotten, as J-Ho refused to drive to the basket and continued to miss jumper after jumper. Playing poorly in a playoff series happens to the best of the best, but noone ever tried to use this excuse: "You can't control what the ball do. It's crazy. Ya'll hilarious, man!" What Howard did off the court during that series got more negative attention than his play on the court...
Avery Johnson was not happy with the play of his team following the Game 1 loss in New Orleans. Avery Johnson specifically asked the team to not go out on the town. He needed his troops fresh and ready for the crucial Game 2. Howard went directly behind his coach's back and threw a birthday party for himself as previously planned. Then, on the morning of Game 3 in Dallas, Josh Howard volunteered to be on ESPN Radio's Michael Irvin Show to talk about "marijuana, his foundation, and basketball." Isn't that nice, mixing charity with pleasure all in the same radio interview. Not only did J-Ho decide to tell everyone about his illegal activity, but he also went so far as to say that "I think that everybody in the media world and in the sports world knows that NBA players do smoke marijuana. We all do it. "Most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason sometimes. I mean, that's my personal choice and my personal opinion, but I don't think that's stopping me from doing my job." Not focused on the game, check...making sure the world knows he likes to get high, check...being a snitch, check. Why in the world would a sane professional athlete who has played so poorly go out of his way to admit to drug use before a must-win playoff game?
Fast forward to August 1st. Josh Howard seemed ready to change his ways. He had previously apologized for going public on the subject of drug use, and he was running his yearly basketball camp at Winston-Salem, North Carolina that week. On the way home, cops pulled Howard over and immediately arrested him for reckless driving to endanger, speeding, and drag racing. Charged with a criminal offense, check. Josh Howard once again mixed charity work with pleasure, and the entire country only grasped hold of the negative parts of that week's events.
Now we can add one more item to the list: being unpatriotic and coming off as anti-American, check. For a man that has said many time his proudest accomplishment in life was graduating with a degree at Wake Forest University, this guy is not very smart. Josh Howard has obviously not learned his lesson, and still we have yet to see an apology for his national anthem antics. Dallas is a city that is very patriotic and does not take something like this lightly. Mark Cuban has come to the defense of his starting small forward time and time again, and Cubes did the same thing this week. However, you can see the signs that this is starting to get to the owner. Cuban is a businessman first, and when his product (Howard) is getting under the buyer's skin (Mavs fans), things can quickly turn sour. Cuban told the media that he will be requiring all of his players to attend "Advanced Communications Training" during upcoming training camp. While I respect Cuban for not calling out his player individually, we all know what this training session should be called: "Shut the **** up Josh" training. How many more incidents is it going to take before Mark is forced to really enforce a penalty? A fine, a suspension, anything.
Get your act together Josh, before the loyal Mavs fans turn on you. We here at DallasDedicated defended you when many wanted you traded for Ron Artest. Now I don't even know who is the stupidest between the two of you. You have quickly become untradeable due to your playoff woes and offseason antics. So step up, pay attention in communications class, keep your voice out of the papers, and do what you get paid to do. Play basketball. All eyes will be on you next time the national anthem begins to play.
Next time: We will take you on a journey through the life of a new DallasDedicated favorite, Cowboys running back Felix Jones