Whew, talk about a sigh of relief. I was really worried that the city of Atlanta was building up Dwight Howard to be something he's not - a perseverant player whose presence is conducive to winning - when I read that he already had his own mural. That is, until I took one look at it. When you hear someone took time out of their day to destroy public property in hopes of honoring an athlete you always assume that the resulting image is going to glorify the athlete in question. For someone to do that for Dwight Howard - a man whose awe inspiring athleticism and superhuman shoulder blades are the only things that make people overlook the scarlet letter that's become symbolic of his entire career - would be nothing short of delusional.
That's why I couldn't find this public display more appropriate. It - quite literally - paints Dwight Howard as the cartoonish, caricature of the 7 foot, physically gifted freak that he has proven to be. If he arrives in Atlanta and begins souring the atmosphere of yet another locker room then the fine folks of Atlanta wouldn't even have to alter that image to claim that it's intent was irony, because it just as easily be viewed as an insult as it could be a compliment. The goofy smile? The arms tucked close to his body making him appear less threatening than someone of his size and talent level should be? Both couldn't possibly be more emblematic of an enigmatic character that couldn't possibly be more flawed. I have my doubts that Dwight Howard will turn around his all-too-underwhelming career, and that's why this artist deserves some kind of award for somehow producing a portrayal that covers all bases.