Game Time! Examining The Type of Villain Dwight Howard Has Become

I was briefly perusing hollywood.com’s list of the “Top 10 All-Time Best Villains” and it got me thinking: what type of villain is the NBA’s newest favorite villain, Dwight Howard, most like?

I decided to take their top 10 list and compare there villainous traits to what Dwight Howard has done to become the villain that he now is in the eyes of many. I’m far from intelligent, especially in the psychology field, but I figured there had to be some common traits between these ten legendary villains and Dwight Howard.

Here goes…

10. The Joker (Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

“This town deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m gonna give it to them.“―The Joker

Wow, Dwight, that’s so nice of you! Orlando deserves another villain?!?

I don’t actually think Dwight wants to be a villain – that’s just not who Dwight Howard is. I think he just wants to be comfortable, pampered, make more money and become more of a star. He certainly does want to win, but judging by his insistence of playing for the Nets and the Nets only, you can’t be too certain about that. The bridge has been burned between he and the Magic front office, and Dwight has realized that he isn’t going to get everything he wants in Orlando. So it’s time to bolt.

The Joker is creepy, unsettling, frightening and genuinely enjoys and embraces his inner evil. Many consider him to be the hallmark definition of what a psychopath is, but I disagree to an extent. Psychopaths don’t feel emotion, and The Joker clearly does. He is sadistic and takes great pleasure in his evil and disgusting acts. At teams he even shows sadness when his plans fail. His evil acts aren’t simply t superficial; he strives to upset social order. He dreams of a world where total anarchy reigns supreme.

In The Dark Knight The Joker spends the entire time trying to prove one singular point: that like everything else, Batman is corruptible. He is completely apathetic to everything else, and essentially destroys most of Gotham City just to prove his point, but all he cared about was creating chaos and proving his point.

Dwight isn’t trying to prove a point, but like The Joker, he also has one singular goal and currently isn’t worrying about the repercussions of trying to attain that. He has alienated and angered an entire fan base for no other reason than because he wants to leave and he has handled that whole process so terribly, almost without regard to public perception or collateral. Dwight’s motivation, however, isn’t because of an sort of evil genius (or genius at all), it’s fueled by an internal and selfish desire.

Similarity rating: 6.5/10

9. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman in Die Hard)

…I’m telling you, you’re just going to have to kill me.
―Takagi
OK.
―Hans casually blows Takagi’s brains across the board room

Hans Gruber is a German terrorist and the main antagonist in the movie Die Hard. Hans’ main motive, unlike many of the more sadistic villains on this list, is money. What Dwight’s main motives are might be unknown, but money and fame have to be two of them.

There are many pros and cons about this comparison…

Pro: Hans’ main strength is his ability to switch between being casual and the intimidating. His next move was always a surprise. He is loose and exhibits a strong sense of humor with those he knows, while he’s curt and short-tempered with those he does not know.

Con: Hans is a highly intelligent man who frequently boasts his education and vast knowledge about business and finance.

Pro: “I’m not playing the villain. I’m just playing somebody who wants certain things in life, has made certain choices and goes after them” As Alan Rickman states, Gruber might be less villain than protagonist. Either way, that sounds like a very Dwight-like quote.

Con: Dwight Howard is not a terrorist.

Similarity rating: 5/10

8. Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman in Leon: The Professional)

 “I haven’t got time for this Mickey Mouse bullshit!” ― Stansfield

First off, if you haven’t seen this movie, and you like good movies, make an effort to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, this is Stansfield.

Stansfield is a corrupt DEA agent who upon learning that someone has been stealing some of his stashed drugs sends his henchmen to gun down all of young Mathilda’s (Natalie Portman) family. The 12 year-old Mathilda survives the hit and finds safe harbor in the form of Leon, played by Jean Reno, who happens to be a professional hit man. Throughout the movie Leon teaches Matilda the ways of his craft, all with the end goal of exacting revenge on Stansfield.

Stansfield fits the psychopath mold to perfection. He goes from shotgunning innocent families to giving classical music advice to strangers at the blink of an eye. Unlike The Joker, Stansfield is a lot more unpredictable and unhinged. Everything seems less calculated to him and everything is driven by a more primal source. There is no great philosophical motive driving him.

If deciding between Stansfield and The Joker, Dwight fits the Stansfield mold a slight bit more. There’s seemingly a much simpler motive behind the chaos Dwight has created. While the Joker seeks to achieve a more tangible and intricate outcome, Stansfield really only kills for personal gain. The Joker is fueled by a much deeper and passionate motive and everything he does is tangibly premeditated. Nothing about Dwight’s decisions lately seem to be premeditated, well-calculated or serving anything of great significance.

Similarity rating: 7.5/10

7. Doctor Evil (Mike Myers in the Austin Powers series)

“Zip it, ex zip it a, zippy longstockings, zip it, zip it good, subtitle: zip it, zuckle on my zipple, zip it, Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exZIPIT A…” ― Dr. Evil

The most unsuccessful and least intimidating villain on the list. A character served solely for parody and humor.

Dr. Evil is relatively hands off; he has others do most of the work for him – be it Fat Bastard, Random Task, Patty O’Brien etc. On numerous occasions, Dr. Evil states that he doesn’t need an adversary, and that essentially he is his own worst enemy.

It’s safe to say that Dwight’s most arduous adversary is indeed his own self. Dwight deciding to not opt-out of his contract was as great of a diabolical plan as Dr. Evil’s Preparation H…

Dwight doesn’t have daddy issues though…

And Dwightmare isn’t really funny any more…

Similarity rating: 5/10

6. Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz)

“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.” ― The Wicked Witch of the West

The Wicked Witch of the West briefly takes Dorthy hostage while she comes up with a way to kill Dorothy in order to take her slippers. Toto escapes and gets the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man, and eventually Dorothy melts the witch with a bucket of water.

Taking something hostage? Sound familiar…

Yeah…

Similarity rating: 5/10

5. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes in the Harry Potter Series)

There is no good and evil. There is only power, and those too weak to seek it. Lord Voldemort

I like to call Dwight Howard “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” too. Voldemort is a “raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people’s suffering”. He is sadistic and finds great joy in inflicting pain on others. He doesn’t recognize the worth of any one besides himself and it is Voldemort’s arrogance that ultimately leads to his downfall.

Voldemort sees no value in human companionship and has no affectionate emotions. As much as anyone might hate Dwight, it’s clear that he means at least a little good, and that he certainly wants to be liked. He might be oblivious to many things, but he isn’t devoid of emotion.

Unless Dwight starts talking about himself in the third person, I think I’ll refrain from equating him to Lord Voldemort.

Similarity rating: 2/10

4. Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men)

This is the best deal you’re going to get. I won’t tell you that you can save yourself, because you can’t.  Anton Chigurh

My personal favorite of the bunch, and perhaps the most difficult to understand. Chigurh takes the whole lack-of-passion and no-remorse-for-other-human-beings thing and ramps it up a few notches. He is a psychopath of the Stansfield mold, but without the unhinged and lack of self control. He has a complete lack of remorse and compassion, yet still abides some sort of skewed moral code, often stating that he feels his victims are “accountable”.

Chigurh does not feel that money or even power are the greatest ends in which one must strive to attain. He doesn’t act based on selfish desires. He feels that the morality of an action is to be judged on the action’s adherence to a set of rules and thus has a complete disregard to the consequences of them. He is often described as a “Karma Houdini” by many because of how he occasionally gives his victims a second chance via the flip of a coin.

It has often been suggested that Chigurh is the “Antichrist”.

Dwight doesn’t have the mental fortitude and conviction that Chigurh displays. He is too heavily influenced by emotions and those around him. Chigurh operates to the beat of his own drum, and does so in a consistent and unflappable manner. He has rules that he follows whereas Dwight seems to be making things up as he goes along and is too heavily influenced by his peers.

Similarity rating: 3/10

Anton Chigurh is simply too cool for Dwight…

3. Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Nurse Ratched is a popular metaphor for how power and authority can become absolutely corrupting. She has essentially absolute power at the Salem, Oregon State Hospital, and absolutely abuses that power. She is in control of the patients’ medicine, privileges and everyday necessities. Whenever anyone upsets her she makes them pay because she can. It isn’t immaturity and selfish motives – like what Dwight perhaps exhibits – it is the insatiable desire for the readily available power that drives Nurse Ratched.

She clashes with Randle McMurphy upon his arrival. McMurphy threatens her power and complete authority as he directly and blatantly defies Ratched’s desires.

Dwight asked for a trade well before the trade deadline came, but things seemed to become irreversibly damaged shortly after Stan Van Gundy essentially aired Dwight’s dirty laundry to the media and pointed right at Dwight’s desire for total power. Dwight was trying to pull the strings. He tried to get Van Gundy fired. He tried to get the front office to trade for players he wanted to play for. He essentially was trying to become larger than the organization as a whole, and essentially did for a while. It was not until when his power we checked that things in Orlando reached a boiling point.

Similarity rating: 7/10

2. Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Labs)

I might hate Dwight right now, but I don’t hate him this much!

Similarity rating: 1/10

1. Darth Vader (James Earl Jones in the Star Wars series)

“Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.” ― Darth Vader

Darth Vader has become the pantheon of villains. His influence reaches far past the bounds of entertainment and popular culture. He is often used by psychiatrists as an example of a variety of personality disorders. He is the seminal example of what a villain is, and his story shows how complex of a personality he is and how he was bred into pure evil by a series of small and collectively significant factors.

However complex Dwight might come across as being, and however confusing he is to me, he’s not Darth Vader…

…That would be an insult to Darth.

Similarity rating: 2/10

————————————————————————————-

The three villains I ever-so scientifically deduced that Dwight was most like were Stansfield, Nurse Ratched and The Joker.

If you take Stansfield’s selfish motives and recklessness, mix it with the Nurse’s insatiable appetite for absolute power and add a dash of The Joker’s disregard for collateral damage resulting from his singular desire, and you have the ultimate Dwight Howard Super Villain. You have a player that has ruined his self image, alienated an entire fan base and held a team hostage because of his desires all because of selfish motives and silly self-created mistakes.

I’m not sure if I took this too seriously or not. I intended to just mess around, but I started discovering some actual similarities.

I did, however, only touch upon a small fraction of history’s greatest villains. Please feel free to share you comparisons in the comments section. I’d love to hear what villain you feel Dwight is most like, and why.

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