Howard’s return to Orlando sure to be a memorable one

Image: SI.comAfter taking the city of Orlando through a dramatic soap opera, Dwight Howard has returned to the city he scorned and left for the bright lights of Hollywood.

The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Magic for the first time this season, bringing Howard back for the first time to face the team and the fans he gave the first eight seasons of his career to.

I have a feeling most of the crowd at the Amway Center will not be thankful for Howard’s time spent in Orlando. They will be ready to let him hear it for all the trouble he put the team through last year. 

Perhaps in an effort to soften the blow of his return, Howard apologized to the city and the fans.

"In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way," Howard said. "If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media. I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do was to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me."

While it seems mostly genuine, I doubt Howard’s apologetic words are going to do much to subdue the crowd tonight.

Howard has already had to deal with countless questions from reporters about his experience of being back in Orlando. He has had tweets come from Tracy McGrady, who went through the same thing and was trying to be supportive, and Glen Davis, who was trying to stir the pot and live up to his “Big Baby” nickname.

Surely the pressure is on tonight.

I actually hope Howard goes for 40 and 20 and the Lakers blow out the Magic. I am not a Dwight Howard or an L.A. Laker fan by any means, but I do not side with fans booing/heckling/cursing a player who left for a better opportunity. Howard probably could have handled the situation a little bit better, but it is what it is.

Whatever happens tonight, it is going to be entertaining to say the least.