Dwight Howard is sorry.
After being ejected in the third quarter of Game 4 between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs and watching as his Tinseltown went down in succession without a fight, Howard took to Twitter to apologize.
Throughout his Twitter string, Howard expressed regret for his absence, acknowledged he needed to be more responsible, compared himself to Charlie Sheen and talked yoga.
What else can the Lakers faithful say to that besides, "Um, thanks?"
This apology doesn't do anything. Had he truly wanted to be the person he references, he would have let his play do the talking in Game 4. Instead, he ran his mouth incessantly and got tossed.
Los Angeles was never going to come back from that 3-0 deficit, even if Howard had remained in the game. No NBA team has ever done it, and a decimated Lakers team wasn't about to accomplish the feat.
But that doesn't make this alright. What Howard did was childish, selfish and embarrassing. In a playoff game—no, in an elimination game—he was sent to the locker room early. What kind of leader takes himself out of that important of a contest? Kobe Bryant would have never let it get that far.
It doesn't matter if Howard was getting hammered down low. Complaining does nothing in the Association. After nearly a decade of whining, Howard himself knows that. He took himself out of a game when the Lakers needed him, which is simply unacceptable.
Then he apologizes and says that it is his "hope" he will get the chance to make it up to the fanbase and organization.
Last time I checked, it was Howard who had control of his future. He doesn't need to "hope"; he can just do. Los Angeles cannot ask him to verbally commit to the team for the rest of his life now. It's his right as a free agent to explore his options. But enough of this "hope."
Howard hasn't made any decisions about his future yet, and per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, he isn't leaning toward any team (the Lakers included) as he prepares for free agency. An unnamed NBA source told Spears:
He's going to sign a long-term deal. It has to be the right spot, the right commitment. There is no clear choice. The Lakers choice has longevity. They've won a lot of championships. But at the same time, that's not where they're at any more.
Don't read too much into Howard's talk of hope and vindication. He isn't any more loyal to the Lakers than he is to the rest of his suitors, and truthfully, that's fine. Howard made no guarantees, and to expect him to suddenly change his stance now would be unrealistic.
This expression of remorse, however, is empty. Merely days after he spoke of fighting and leaving everything on the floor, he quit. He didn't care enough to be there for his team. At a time when Hollywood needed him most, he just quit.
Callow antics aside, the Lakers still need him. Howard is still their future, and they will push hard to re-sign him—and they should. He's a great player.
They should also remember that what they see is what they're going to get.
Following Game 4, it seems the Lakers will be pursuing a cornerstone that, up until now, has offered more apologies and broken more promises than he could ever win championships.
Let's "hope" that changes.