Why Do People Hate Dwight Howard: The Deep-Seated Reasons Fueling Disdain for Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard is considered one of the most polarizing figures in NBA history. The 8-time All-Star has received immense criticism and backlash from fans, analysts and even fellow players throughout his career. But why exactly do so many people seem to dislike or “hate” Dwight Howard? There are several factors that contribute to the negative perceptions surrounding him.

Dwight’s Immaturity and Lack of Leadership

One of the biggest criticisms against Dwight Howard is his perceived immaturity and lack of leadership skills. Despite possessing elite physical tools and talent, Dwight’s mentality and decision-making have been questioned.

Dwight’s Scandals and Antics

Dwight has frequently been involved in silly scandals and antics that have rubbed many the wrong way. This includes fathering several children out of wedlock, his weird Candyman nickname obsession, pretending to be a superhero, and bizarre media interviews where he giggles uncontrollably.

Lack of Killer Instinct

Many feel Dwight lacks the killer instinct and drive to dominate games consistently. He has been accused of playing passively and without urgency on both ends of the floor. Fans expect max-contract superstars like Dwight to impose their will and affect winning at a higher level.

Poor Relationship with Kobe Bryant

Dwight clashed mightily with Kobe Bryant during his short Laker tenure. Their personalities and leadership styles failed to mesh, creating disharmony and dysfunction. Kobe publicly called out and ridiculed Dwight for not having the right mindset and competitiveness. This feud further painted Dwight as immature and not cut out to be a leader.

Dwight’s Inability to Fulfill Superstar Expectations

The prime of Dwight’s career was filled with unfulfilled promise and disappointment relative to superstar expectations. His inability to lift his teams to true contender status or evolve his game has drawn criticism.

Playoff Shortcomings

Despite making the NBA Finals with Orlando in 2009, Dwight has largely underperformed in the playoffs. His teams frequently lost earlier than expected, with Dwight struggling individually in crunch time. He never embraced the role of playoff closer that superstars relish.

Regression After Back Surgery

Lingering back issues after surgery in 2012 seemed to rob Dwight of some of his trademark athleticism. He struggled to regain his absolute prime form, which left him unable to fully capitalize on his gifts.

Lack of Skill Development

Dwight has been reluctant to develop more advanced post moves and footwork to expand his offensive game. His unwillingness to improve areas of relative weakness has limited his ability to continue dominating.

Dwight’s Messy Departures from Orlando and LA

The ugly nature of Dwight’s forced trades out of Orlando and LA in 2012 and 2013 caused resentment. His image took major hits for the perceived disloyalty and betrayal of his teams and fanbases during these sagas.

The “Dwightmare” in Orlando

Dwight held the Magic hostage for some time with wishy-washy behavior about his future before ultimately demanding a trade to Brooklyn. This soap opera nick-named the “Dwightmare” dissatisfied and upset Orlando fans who once revered him.

Brief LA Tenure Ends Poorly

Dwight never appeared committed to the Lakers and clashed with teammates before leaving after just one season. Laker fans were angry he spurned their franchise and Kobe after they gave up key assets to acquire him.

Perception as a Diva

The way Dwight forced his Orlando and LA exits while shirking accountability gave him a label as a diva. Many fans viewed him as arrogant and over-entitled without the results to back it up.

Dwight’s Inability to Fit with Teams

For all his individual accolades, Dwight has been traded or left numerous teams on bad terms. His inability to establish sustained team success has drawn criticism.

Atlanta Hawks (2016-2017)

Dwight signed with his hometown Hawks but clashed with teammates and saw his role shrink. Atlanta traded him after one mildly disappointing season.

Charlotte Hornets (2017-2018)

Another short one-year stint ended poorly, as Charlotte traded Dwight following a first round sweep. His effort and sideline antics irked coaches and teammates.

Washington Wizards (2018-2019)

This tenure lasted only 9 games before a back injury ended his season. Still, the Wizards seemed to thrive more without the distracted Dwight in the lineup.

Los Angeles Lakers…Again (2019-2020)

In Dwight’s LA redemption tour, he regained some favor as a role player. But the Lakers let him walk after winning the 2020 NBA title, a mutual parting of ways.

How Dwight Can Improve His Image

While much of the criticism towards Dwight Howard is understandable, he still has opportunities to repair his reputation to some degree. Here are a few things Dwight could do to improve his image:

  • Make a true commitment to becoming a better leader, teammate and mentor to young players. He should demonstrate more maturity and wisdom.
  • Expand his game by developing smarter defensive positioning, high IQ passing and a more refined post-up skillset. This would prove his willingness to evolve.
  • Deliver consistent, max-effort play on a playoff/contending team. Perform well in high stakes games.
  • Show humility and accountability when things go wrong instead of shifting blame. Endear himself to fanbases.
  • Avoid unnecessary media controversies and scandals. Stay focused on basketball success.
  • Be a strong community member and get involved with charitable initiatives. Use his platform for good.


In summary, Dwight Howard is such a polarizing NBA figure because of his perceived immaturity and off-putting antics, inability to fulfill superstar expectations, messy departures from teams, and difficulty fitting into franchises long-term.

However, there remain opportunities for Dwight to alter public perception by evolving into a better leader and teammate, expanding his skills, and taking accountability. While his disappointing tendencies have rightfully drawn criticism, Dwight still has time left in his career to rewrite the narrative and change perspectives for the better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What caused the rift between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant on the Lakers?

The main source of conflict between Dwight and Kobe on the 2012-13 Lakers stemmed from clashing leadership styles and personalities. Kobe’s obsessively competitive mentality clashed with Dwight’s more light-hearted approach. Dwight struggled to meet Kobe’s demands for focus and tenacity. This rift was a key factor in Dwight’s decision to leave the Lakers after one season.

How did Dwight Howard perform in his first stint with the Lakers?

Dwight had a mildly disappointing 2012-13 season with the Lakers after being acquired in a blockbuster trade. He averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks but played through injuries and clashed with teammates. The Lakers were swept in the first round, leading Dwight to depart in free agency.

What controversy happened between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy in Orlando?

In 2012, reports leaked that Dwight asked Magic management to fire then-coach Stan Van Gundy. When reporters asked Stan about this, he confirmed it was true in an awkward public moment. This incident fueled the “Dwightmare” drama surrounding Dwight’s looming free agency and trade request.

Why did Dwight Howard force a trade from the Orlando Magic?

Dwight requested a trade from Orlando in 2012 after growing unhappy with the team’s roster and future outlook around him. He felt the Magic were not making the necessary moves to contend and wanted to be traded to a larger market like Brooklyn or LA with more star power. This forced Orlando to deal him to the Lakers.

What are some of Dwight Howard’s notable NBA achievements?

Dwight is an 8-time NBA All-Star, 8-time All-NBA selection, 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time NBA rebounding leader and future Hall of Famer. He reached the NBA Finals with Orlando in 2009 and won an NBA title with the Lakers in 2020 in a more limited role. At his peak, he was one of the league’s most dominant centers.

Why did Dwight Howard struggle to fit in with James Harden on the Rockets?

When Dwight joined James Harden’s Rockets in 2013, they had stylistic clashes, with Harden dominating the ball on offense. As Dwight’s post-up touches decreased, he became frustrated. The two stars also developed a disconnected relationship off the court that fueled chemistry issues.

What instigated Kobe Bryant calling out Dwight Howard publicly?

By calling out Dwight’s lack of competitiveness and killer instinct during their time together on the Lakers, Kobe was trying to motivate Dwight to have more of a serious, competitive mentality.

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