Howard becoming most hated player in NBA

Dwight Howard didn’t have an elaborate “decision” like LeBron James did in 2010, but his popularity has taken just as big of a hit.

After his announcement that was leaving the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets, Howard’s image has continued to go downhill, according to Q Scores, which measures how the population views celebrities.

In a report by SportingNews, a survey taken last spring said 25 percent of sports fans had a negative view of Howard, while 12 percent had a positive view and 65 percent said they recognized him.

“I would say those kinds of numbers are rare,” Q Scores vice president Henry Schafer told SportingNews.

Keep in mind, that was before Howard ditched the Lakers.

He has reached the level of LeBron and Kobe Bryant with those types of numbers.

LeBron had a negative score of 21, while Kobe had a 25.

Howard dazzled fans with a Superman leap in the 2008 Slam Dunk contest and led the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals, where he lost to Bryant and the Lakers.

But his status has gone south since the debacle during his final year in Orlando, which included the firing of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.

In last year’s survey, Howard’s negative Q Score was 18, and 17 for positive.

Things only got worse when he joined the Lakers and his new coach, Mike Brown, was also fired early into the 2012-13 season. The team failed to live up to expectations and limped their way into the playoffs where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first-round.

“That is one of the strange things, that going to the Lakers worked in the opposite direction that you’d expect,” Schafer told SportingNews. “Most players going to a team like that, they become more popular. He saw a really significant increase in the negative score in just one year.”

Maybe things will change with the Rockets. But even winning championships hasn’t helped LeBron.

Howard has already gotten off to a good start in Houston trying to turn things around by buying a few fans lunch on Tuesday.