Dwight Howard was once the league's most dominant center, and a fan favorite after winning the NBA's slam dunk contest in 2008. But since forcing his way out of Orlando in 2012, and after a disastrous season with the Lakers where he feuded with Kobe Bryant the following year, the public opinion of Howard has diminished considerably.

This latest story won't do anything to change those perceptions.

Former Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide spoke to the Orlando Sentinel recently, and recounted the tale of a young Howard comparing himself to some pretty incredible folks.

"When he told me he was an icon, guess what three names he used [to compare himself to]?" Vander Weide said. "Michael Jordan. Muhammad Ali. Nelson Mandela."

Let's pause for a sec while we all do a faceplant.

"Are you kidding me?'" Vander Weide said. "We've been to the Finals once and you're a great athlete, and you're an icon like these three? I knew it was over. I knew there was no chance of keeping him."

This is what can happen when you essentially win the genetic lottery, and then surround yourself with people who will only feed your ego in order to be a part of your entourage.

Howard seems to have matured since joining the Rockets, probably due to the fact that he's not expected to be the face of the franchise there, because James Harden is fully capable of playing that role himself. Even though these latest remarks are coming second-hand and years after Howard allegedly made them, it's not going to matter in the eyes of fans who will only see Howard as a clown who made a whole series of previous mistakes. 

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[via CBS Sports]