ORLANDO, Fla. _ It was a bad business decision.
Actually, it was a terrible business decision.
All the ESPN insiders and NBA numbers geeks and incredulous sports agents just could not comprehend what Dwight Howard did on Thursday.
They couldn't grasp the idea that he would waive his right to become a free agent and agree to play at least another season with his team and in his town.
And that's why this was such a wonderful thing.
Because it wasn't business. It was personal.
It wasn't about the bottom line. It was from the bottom of his heart.
No, he didn't sign long-term, but he at least gave the Magic the rest of this season and all of next season to try and win a championship and attract more talent to Orlando. This is the best the organization could have hoped for at this point. Dwight put his long-term future and financial security on hold to give it one last go-round here in Orlando.
"Others are looking at it from a business standpoint," Dwight said in a jam-packed news conference Thursday at the Amway Center. "In my heart, I just felt like loyalty is better than anything. ... I have to do what's going to make me happy. I've got everything I want right here in Orlando."
Dwight has just turned the City Beautiful into the City Dutiful. He shunned convention, went against the advice of his agent and did something completely unorthodox: After months of wavering and waffling, hip-hopping and flip-flopping, he did something professional athletes rarely do these days: He did what was best for the Magic and not for himself. He stayed because he couldn't bear to leave. He made the words to that "Let's Fight for Dwight" song recorded recently by a bunch of Magic fans actually come true:
"When we hear you're leavin' ... We won't stop believin."
With ESPN insiders and the national media throwing a hissy fit because Dwight had the audacity NOT to go to New York or L.A., Howard became an instant hometown hero in Orlando. He became the anti-LeBron.Comment on this story
LeBron took his talents to South Beach.
Dwight kept his in Orlando.
LeBron made "The Decision."
Dwight made "The Right Decision."