Los Angeles Lakers superstar center Dwight Howard has drawn the praise of fans in Los Angeles for good reason — he’s one of the best players in the NBA and could bring the Lakers to a title.
But Howard hasn’t gained any friends in Orlando, possibly not even after taking out a full-page ad in the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday, Sep. 2, to thank them for being such a positive support system while he played there. It got the editors here at Sports Out West thinking:
What were some other ads placed by athletes here on the West Coast and around the country in recent history? Better yet, why did they place them?
For your reading pleasure, here is a look at several of them:
Ray Allen, Boston Globe
Ray Allen was instrumental in bringing an NBA championship to the Boston Celtics in 2008. After he was traded to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2012, the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers took out an ad in the Boston Globe thanking the fans for what he called an “incredible journey”. It was a classy way to go out and was genuine in showing how much he cared for the city and fan base that he gave so much of himself to.
Ryan Dempster, Chicago Tribune
Ryan Dempster is playing ball with the Texas Rangers, but before he left, he made a class move and thanked the Chicago Cubs and their fans for “welcoming” him and his family with open arms via a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune. He went on to speak about the support for his foundation he received and that the city will always have a special place in his heart. Again, it was very well thought out and came from a good place.
Grant Hill, Arizona Republic
NBA journeyman and now-West Coast-baller, Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill has always been a picture of sportsmanship throughout his career. Everything the man does is classy and professional, and the ad he took out of the Arizona Republic following his five-year stint with the Phoenix Suns was as well-spoken as the man himself. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this beautiful and passionate community as a member of the Suns,” he wrote.
There’s almost no doubt in my mind that he wrote this himself and didn’t leave it to a PR rep — that’s how genuine he is.
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Inquirer
Shane Victorino, a Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder who is a Hawaii native, took out an ad along with his wife Melissa and their two children in the Philadelphia Inquirer after he was traded out west. The ad wasn’t wordy, but it was short, sweet and to the point, featuring a picture of his family, and two others related to his foundation. “Mahalo Philadelphia,” reads the title, and captures the essence of all that needed to be said.
Milton Bradley, Chicago Tribune
Milton Bradley is a West Coast guy — he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, and Seattle Mariners and is an L.A. native and graduate of sports powerhouse Long Beach Poly High School.
Unfortunately, his decent career can be easily described as a calamity of random mini-disasters. The polarizing outfielder was part of many bizarre incidents throughout his career. So much so, that and this fake ad in the Chicago Tribune following his departure from the Chicago Cubs and subsequent trade to the Seattle Mariners is totally believable.
In the rant, Bradley absolutely blasted just about everyone in Chicago for almost everything. It was hilarious, and it felt so real.
Where Does the Howard Ad Fall?
The ad from Howard would have been a good idea had there been no drama and no “Dwightmare”. But the fact of the matter is that he put fans of the Orlando Magic through a lot of heartache at the end of his tenure with the franchise, and it won’t be as well-received as some of the ads above.
Howard clearly had a PR professional tell him what to do in this case. Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong move. In the grand scheme of things, it would probably fall in between Victorino’s short thank you and Bradley’s walk-off shot, in case you were keeping score.