A little over a week ago, the news came out that Dwight Howard had an out-of-wedlock baby with a former Orlando Magic dancer.
Normally, this would not be a big deal, but Howard is known for his religious beliefs as much as he is for his superhero muscles and monster crams. Remember, he had a bible reference written on the sticker he famously stuck on the backboard in last year’s Dunk Contest.
So now the question becomes, Is his image (read: marketability, Q-rating) going to suffer as a result? Probably not, according to some experts in the field.
“It probably won’t matter to a large percentage of his fans, but for those fans that his Christian message really resonated previously, it could matter,” said Gregg Bennett, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University and a board member of the Sports Marketing Association. “I think from a marketing side, communication at this point is pretty important. If he still wants to be seen as a moral person of faith, then he needs to persuade folks that he is dealing with the issue straight on.”
Dwight can take comfort in the fact that, so long as you produce on the playing field, fans and the buying public in general have short memories and are extremely forgiving (See: Bryant, Kobe).
What I’m curious to find out, though, is what his next sticker is going to say. Suggestions are certainly welcome in the comments. Try to keep it clean.