Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers play host to his former team, the Orlando Magic, on Sunday, but Howard has already met his match in Magic blue with the return of "Orlando Dunkman vs. Dwight Howard."
The interactive, blue-spandex-clad mascot originally appeared on the Orlando Sentinel's website prior to the NBA All-Star Game last season and is making his comeback just in time to exact some revenge on the Magic's former No. 1 draft pick, who was shipped from Orlando to Los Angeles as part of a four-team deal in August after demanding a trade in the offseason. Orlando Dunkman's biggest threat may be to productivity in the workplace once creative types try their best to figure what he can and can't do.
All told, Orlando Dunkman responds to about 1,300 commands against the life-size cardboard cutout of the Lakers center.
"The Magic franchise was turned upside down by Dwight. These are dark days and my hope is that Dunkman can be a little chicken soup for the battered Magic fan's soul," Todd Stewart, interactive and design manager at the Orlando Sentinel, told Playbook on Wednesday.
Dunkman answers to basketball and non-basketball commands. For instance, he'll happily do his best version of "Gangnam Style" while Dwight looks on helplessly. He'll also drop the Dougie, post up on Dwight and shoot a free throw. When asked to be Superman, Dunkman manages to pull a cape out of Dwight's back. Magic fans will get some special satisfaction by typing in "ACME."
Naturally, Dunkman (@OrlandoDunkman) has his own Twitter account:
Today is the day. Ready or not, @dwighthoward, here I come…
— Orlando Dunkman (@OrlandoDunkman) November 26, 2012
• Why bother with renovation when fans can just swing by and grab a spare section? An estimated 5,000 people armed with screwdrivers, spades and drills turned up to claim a part of Rasunda Stadium in Stockholm. The stadium was one of two venues in the world -- along with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena., Calif. -- to have hosted the finals of the men's (1958) and women's (1995) World Cup Soccer final. The stadium is being demolished to make way for homes while home team AIK moves to a new venue.
• NASCAR is taking over Las Vegas this week leading up to the Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, and 2012 champ Brad Keselowski had no trouble making his presence known on the Strip.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 27, 2012
Keselowski, whose foundation works with military members and veterans, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he wouldn't mind adding a tank to his current lineup of vehicles. “It will look good parked in my driveway behind my gate.”