By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"Most of the players in the league use marijuana," he told ESPN Radio's Michael Irvin back in April, "and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason sometimes."
His timing—before Game 3 against the New Orleans Hornets—confounded management and irritated teammates. He eventually admitted his mistake, apologizing to the Mavs, to NBA commissioner David Stern and posting an "I'm sorry" statement on his foundation's Web site.
But just as Howard appeared remorseful at his basketball camp and we all agreed to blame the isolated incident on a fit of immaturity, he pulled a stunt that has us questioning his commitment to basketball and, honestly, his common sense.
In the same state where former Charlotte Hornet Bobby Phills was killed while drag racing a teammate in 2000, Howard decided it would be cool to drive his black Lexus 94 mph in a 55 to prove his superiority over a silver Volkswagen Golf. After his passive playoff disappearance, maybe we should simply be encouraged that he's driving aggressively?
He has a court date in North Carolina on September 23. About a week later, Howard will report for Mavs training camp. At some point, he'll have to publicly address his wayward behavior. For his teammates' trust. For our peace of mind. For his own emotional state.
In DeSoto, however, Howard didn't give a damn about coming clean. Sitting alongside Tracy McGrady and Kenyon Martin, he signed autographs, posed for pictures and laughed when Lampkin's youngest son danced the "Soulja Boy" and grooved to something called the "Stanky Leg." He explained "I just like the colors" when asked about the significance of his retro Toronto Blue Jays baseball cap, the one with the awkwardly rigid bill.
If only Howard were that straight these days.