(above : an easily manipulated puppet.  and on the left, ‘Lil Dwight)

“You should never say goodbye to Orlando,” scolded the Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi last week, warning Magic superstar Dwight Howard that he ran the risk of being less beloved locally, than say, Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, were he to force a trade by refusing to resign.  Yesterday, some (like me) will claim Howard merely delayed the inevitable by waiving his right to opt out of the final year of his pact with Orlando, but in Bianchi’s mind,  “this was the best news Magic fans have received since Gilbert Arenas shut down his Twitter account.”

Howard shunned convention, went against the advice of his agent and did something completely unorthodox: After months of wavering and waffling, hip-hopping and flip-flopping, he did something professional athletes rarely do these days: He did what was best for the Magic and not for himself. He stayed because he couldn’t bear to leave.

With ESPN insiders and the national media throwing a hissy fit because Dwight had the audacity not to go to New York or L.A., Howard became an instant hometown hero in Orlando. He became the anti-LeBron.

LeBron made “The Decision.”

Dwight made “The Right Decision.”

Unless, of course, you listened to the reaction across the country. Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade even mocked Dwight’s decision on Twitter.

“Loyalty hahahahaha,” Wade tweeted.

What a jerk hahahahaha.