Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard’s Former Coach Stan Van Gundy Opens Up About Their Relationship

By Michael Ma

Apr 07, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic defeated the Sixers 88-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While Dwight Howard is happy to be in Houston and eager to begin a new chapter of his life, controversy and criticism has continued to follow him this off-season.  Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was recently interviewed by ESPN.com’s TrueHoop, where he talked about his relationship with the new Houston Rockets center, even after the two’s relationship fell apart in Orlando.

When asked why he and Howard remain friends and communicate with each other after all that happened during their time with the Magic, Van Gundy responded:

“I do think that one thing that we all do is look at the whole picture when you’re looking at something. And there’s no one I know, there’s no one that I care about, people I’m a lot closer to than guys I’ve coached like my family, there’s not one of them I haven’t had major disagreements with. 

One, you still love them and everything else, but also you’re judging by the whole picture. So, I can look at what Dwight did for me as a coach and for our whole basketball team in Orlando and everything else and I’m very, very appreciative. 

Plus, I don’t think there was ever a point where I didn’t like Dwight personally. I like him. I’ve had a lot of laughs with him. He’s a good guy. We had some things that we disagreed on. We had some things we disagreed strongly on and some times where we pissed each other off. And those were well-documented. But it doesn’t negate all of the good things he did and the good times that were there in the five years we were together. So for me, it’s not a hard thing to overlook. 

Just look back at your life and the people in your life. If you’re really being honest about it, then you’re going to think of major blowups you had with those people. You’re going to think of times you stormed out of the house. But you keep coming back because for the most part you will work off things in the big picture. You have to be careful not getting caught up in the moment too much.” 

Howard’s rocky relationship with Van Gundy, as well as the events that transpired in his last season with Orlando, and in his first and only season with the Los Angeles Lakers has been a constant point of criticism. While he did not get along at all with Mike D’Antoni in L.A. all signs are pointing that Howard most likely will not have that problem with Kevin McHale, at least not in the near future.