The Orlando Magic have moved on from the Dwight Howard era.
When a new addition to the roster recently asked to wear Howard's old jersey number, team officials obliged. Howard's former teammates rarely speak his name. And most of the artwork and photos of Howard that once adorned Amway Center have been taken down.
Tonight, for the first time in nearly a year, Howard will return to the arena he helped build.
It's Orlando's Super Bowl: Howard's Los Angeles Lakers against the Magic, the team he asked to leave.
"I think they're going to boo the living daylights out of him," said Jack Nelson, a longtime Magic fan known for wearing sweater vests and berating referees after questionable calls (and is not related to Jameer Nelson).
"I think they should just cheer like mad and let him try to figure out why they're doing it because he's expecting them to boo. So if they cheer, he's going to say, 'What the heck's going on?' And if we can do anything to add misery to his life, so be it."
Even Howard acknowledges he's thought about the reception he'll receive from the 19,000-plus fans expected to fill Amway Center.
"I think it's going to be crazy," Howard told reporters in Los Angeles. "I don't know how I'm going to handle it."
It could be a surreal scene.
Magic fans once adored Howard.
The goodwill he had built started to erode in December 2011 when he requested a trade from the Magic.
In the months that followed, rumors circulated every few days — some of them stemming from the Howard camp — and those rumors threatened to tear apart the Magic locker room.
"In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way," Howard recently told USA Today. "If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media.
"I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do -- to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me."
Howard also said he should have been more communicative with his Magic teammates and his coach, Stan Van Gundy.
On Monday, Howard's apology was relayed to Magic point guard Jameer Nelson.
"What's said is said, and what happened is over and done with," Nelson responded.
"I'm just here trying to look forward and not trying to dwell on the past. The decision was made and things happen, so it's not like anybody could take them back or anything like that. And me personally, I'm not mad at him for doing what he did. I don't know. Could things have been done differently? Yeah. But they weren't."
Last week, Howard texted Nelson to clarify a comment he had made in a videotaped interview with a Los Angeles television station in which Howard referred to his old Magic squads as "a team full of people who nobody wanted."
Nelson didn't respond.
He and the Magic are trying to move on.
During the summer, new general manager Rob Hennigan met with Howard face-to-face on two separate occasions to try to build a relationship with Howard in case the team brought him back for the 2012-13 season.
But Howard maintained his trade request.
The team traded him to the Lakers on Aug. 10.
Now, Magic CEO Alex Martins won't publicly discuss many of the details that surrounded Howard's final months with the team.
"We left yesterday behind a long time ago," Martins said.
The Magic will not hold a video tribute to Howard on the scoreboard Tuesday night. Some teams flash past highlights of their former players when those players return to play for other franchises.
Jameer Nelson wouldn't speculate on how fans will react to Howard when Howard steps onto the floor.
"Obviously, the atmosphere is going to be probably a little turned-up, a little crazier than what we have [had] so far this year," he said. "Hopefully, we can, as a team, come out and play our game and do what we need to do to try to be successful."
It's a huge game for the Magic and their fans.
Even Ryan Totka, the Magic fan who founded the StayDwight.com website last season to convince other Magic fans to show much they loved Howard, will attend the game.
"It's one of those games that's a must-see game, kind of like when LeBron [James] came back to Cleveland," Totka said. "We pretty much know what kind of response the crowd is going to give. You could go 0-82, but this is the one game that everybody cares about and wants to go to."
email@example.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.