Dwight Howard has had a number of turbulent moments in his 14-year NBA career, but on Thursday he revealed one interaction that might have been the worst.
In an appearance on ESPN's "The Jump," Howard recalled an incident involving Stan Van Gundy that happened six years ago.
At the time, Howard was playing under Van Gundy on the Magic and the two were getting ready for a game against the Knicks on April, 5 2012. Van Gundy told reporters Howard wanted him fired in the midst of a losing streak.
"I was told it was true by people in our management," Van Gundy said in 2012. "So right from the top."
Howard explained he was standing close by when someone in the media told him to go put his arm around Van Gundy and show everyone the two were OK, creating a fairly awkward moment while the cameras were rolling.
"So I go out there, put my arm around Stan, he says a little line, I say something, and he just jets out of there," Howard said Thursday.
Howard was then questioned about Van Gundy's comments and then went on to play the worst game of his career.
"The first question is like 'Dwight, they said you wanted to get Stan fired.' I was like 'Oh, my god,'" Howard recalled. "That was literally the worst day of my life. We had a game that night. And that was the worst game I ever played. Like, I could not hit the basket for nothing. And you would have thought—I don't know what was going on that night, but it was the worst ever."
The Knicks went on to win that game 96-80 and Howard scored eight points on 4-of-8 shooting in 40 minutes on the court.
Orlando fired Van Gundy a month later after losing a first-round playoff series to the Pacers.