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Orlando Sentinel Columnist Prostrates His City Before Howard

One day after Dwight Howard took to Twitter to complain that the Orlando Sentinel was trying to run him out of town with a series of articles questioning his plans for the future, Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi offered a pantheon-level kiss-up to the city’s golden goose.

Dwight, believe me, there is nothing we want more than for you to stay in Orlando. I mean, seriously, what would occupy the Sentinel’s pages if you left? We can only write so much about Tim Tebow’s latest underwear commercial.

Dwight, why are you tweeting bad things about the hometown paper? We’ve always written 99.9 percent good things about you (OK, there was that one George Diaz column two years ago when he agreed with Bill Simmons about you not being an alpha dog.)

But what about that nice front-page story a few weeks ago about you winning the Community Involvement Award for being one of the most giving, charitable athletes in all of sports? Or how about the story about you having the greatest smile in sports? Or the one about how you brightened up the final days of a dying woman’s life?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that you are an even greater defensive force than the iconic Bill Russell. Diaz wrote that you, not Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, should win the league’s MVP. Our tech people even designed a webpage – PleaseStayDwight.com – at OrlandoSentinel.com. Does this sound like a newspaper that is trying to run you out of town?

Yes, we have dedicated a lot of stories, blogs and commentary to your pending free-agency, but so has ESPN and a lot of other places. What do you expect? We are a one-horse sports town and you are our Secretariat. Let’s face it, there is no more important issue in the Orlando sports than whether you re-sign with the Magic.

Hey, don’t forget to follow up with some roses and a nice bottle of pinot.

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