Skip to content

Pistons Pulverize Magic in Shaq’s Honorary Return

2015 March 27
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

On the night Shaquille O’Neal officially came back home, the Orlando Magic couldn’t muster the spirit of those mid-’90s teams as the home team lost 111-97 to Stan Van Gundy’s Pistons on Friday. After being down only 1 at halftime, Detroit just absolutely pounded the Magic in the second half. Overall, the Magic looked uninterested. Detroit attempted 19 more free throws than the Magic and made four more triples than their hosts. That’s all they’d need to prevail.

Reggie Jackson paced the Pistons with 26 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. His 2nd career triple-double and second in less than two weeks. Tayshaun Prince – even after a dozen years – still tormented the Magic with 22 points. Orlando was led by 20 points and 14 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic. Elfrid Payton added 14 points and a career-high 4 assists. Tobias Harris posted 21 points and Oladipo contributed 16 points and 7 assists. But there was little interest to play defense with no Dewayne Dedmon on the court.

 

Below is the full game recap.

read more…

Shaquille O’Neal Receives Standing Ovation from Magic Fans in Return

2015 March 27
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

One of the biggest questions going into Friday night’s Orlando Magic contest against the Detroit Pistons: Would Magic fans boo Shaquille O’Neal?

And the answer is…

No boos, just a lot of standing cheers for the 3rd man to be inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame. The Amway Center crowd in between the first quarter and second period break accepted the big man back with open arms. Hearing Paul Porter go vintage throwback on us with the loud “Shaquille O’Neal” was fantastic. It’s 2 decades in the making, but the pain Shaq left the City Beautiful with when he departed for L.A. may be slowly dissipating.

Shaq was greeted at midcourt by CEO Alex Martins and Dan DeVos. Notice Shaq hugged Magic lead assistant coach Igor Kokoskov as he slowly made his way to the FOX Sports Magic television announcing table to talk on the telecast during the entire second quarter with David Steele and Jeff Turner.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

What Really Triggered Shaquille O’Neal to Leave Orlando in 1996?

2015 March 26
by Adam Papageorgiou

magic9596

What if I told you one Shaquille O’Neal comment in a January 1996 blizzard was the spark that ignited Shaq’s exit from Orlando, changing the Magic franchise forever?

Not the allure of Hollywood. Not the infamous newspaper poll. Not a feud with Brian Hill or the Magic front office. Not a belief that Shaq wanted the Lakers to take him coming out of Louisiana State University. Not being bored driving down the same street every day.

One quote. One quote generated in a town that the Magic never should have been in if not for Mother Nature.

Let’s set the stage.

It’s January 6, 1996. A Saturday. The Magic just lost a game in Cleveland to the Cavaliers to fall to 25-7 on the season. Shaq (strained left quadriceps muscle) and Nick Anderson (sprained right big toe) didn’t play. The team – following the defeat – immediately hops on a charter flight en route to Philadelphia to play the 76ers Monday the 8th. However, a heavy snow storm is hammering the East Coast – so much so it shut down Philadelphia’s airport – and would force the Magic’s plane to land at Lehigh Valley International Airport instead and stay in an Allentown, PA hotel.

It was expected to be a brief reroute of plans seeing that Philadelphia was only about 60 miles from where the Magic were staying. After all, this occurred in the early hours of Sunday the 7th, there was still over 24 hours to reach their final destination and play a game. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Head Coach Brian Hill’s fears came true. The Sixers game would be cancelled. The team would be basically trapped in the same Hilton hotel through the remainder of the weekend and all of Monday (almost 3 full days) because of a blizzard that dropped over 30 inches of snow in the area.

Depending on who tells the story, the Magic were not the only famous occupants of that hotel. Musician Marilyn Manson – less than a year before he became globally known – and his band had wrapped up a performance in an Allentown club just hours before the storm hit. Also stranded were a Polish wedding party, NFL Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas’ niece, and the traveling cast of Sesame Street Live.

So what do you do in a hotel for almost 3 days? Before wireless laptops and internet-access capable cell phones? Activities supposedly included eating cheeseburgers, playing darts, and shooting pool at the hotel bar called Trophies Sports Saloon. Oh the irony. Apparently the Sesame Street Live cast playfully pressured Shaq into singing the show’s theme song repeatedly. Jon Koncak remembered a green-haired chain-smoker.

Finally, the Magic are able to leave Allentown on the late morning of Tuesday January 9th, flying to Orlando and preparing in time to host the New Jersey Nets and defeat them at the O-Rena that very same evening to improve to 18-0 at home at that point in the season. The cancelled Sixers game would be played eventually on March 4th, a contest the Magic also won.

It’s this information that has gone down in rare Magic folklore. Something you’ll hear about years at a time in a brief mention. Typically in a jokingly manner. But there’s more to this story that I wasn’t aware of until I dug into some newspaper archives that makes that blizzard setting massive in terms of changing the Magic’s future forever.

 

read more…

Victor Oladipo Presents $15K to Florida Hospital Cancer Institute

2015 March 26
by Adam Papageorgiou

vicdunkcancer

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo on Thursday donated a portion of his earnings from the 2015 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest to the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute earmarked for Florida Hospital’s Breast Care Fund.

After the check presentation, Oladipo spent time with youth whose parents have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Oladipo joined team ambassador Bo Outlaw as well as author Jen-Ai Childress in reading to the youth “Kids Wear Pink Too.” Youth also participated in activities with Oladipo including face painting, coloring, and balloon art.

 

 

Oladipo’s dunk contest contribution benefits three institutions dedicated to treating and finding cures for various types of cancer: Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., earmarked for pediatric cancer; The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, IN., earmarked for breast cancer research; Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando, FL. Oladipo has already presented checks to Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and Children’s National Medical Center.   

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Hawks-Magic Postgame Locker Room Interviews

2015 March 25
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

In a 25-5 flash of a run, the Orlando Magic went from up seven points to losing by double digits when the final buzzer sounded. That left the Magic locker room just shaking their heads while in a somber mood after letting another winnable game get snatched from their grasp. This season needs to end soon.

Victor Oladipo:

 

Below are interviews of Willie Green, James Borrego, Nikola Vucevic, and Elfrid Payton.

read more…

Hawks Utilize 24-3 Late 4th Quarter Run to Swoop Past the Magic

2015 March 25
by Adam Papageorgiou
paytonhawks

AP Photo/John Raoux

The Orlando Magic were in a tight second half battle with the Atlanta Hawks…and then the best team in the East went on an outrageous 24-3 run when the Magic were up 78-71. Atlanta won 95-83 as the Magic just had their hearts ripped out after a tough fight most of the contest.

Elfrid Payton had thirteen of his 19 points in the second half to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. The rookie got his shot blocked 6 times though. Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo added 16 points while Tobias Harris contributed fourteen in his return back from injury.

Orlando was only 3-of-16 from 3-point range while Atlanta drained five of their 10 triples in the fourth. Paul Millsap had a beastly 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Atlanta. Jeff Teague added 16 points and 9 assists. 7 of Orlando’s 17 turnovers were in the final period.

 

Below is the full game recap.

read more…

Magic Players, Staff, and UnitedHealthcare Fight Hunger in Central Florida

2015 March 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

vicdedmonfighthunger

Orlando Magic players Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and Dewayne Dedmon, Magic CEO Alex Martins, Magic Dancers, General Manager Rob Hennigan, interim Head Coach James Borrego, Orlando Magic staff, and UnitedHealthcare employees on Tuesday assembled Hi-Five Kids Packs for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The athletes, employees and students worked together for the third consecutive year to fight hunger and help the food bank provide 12,000 Hi-Five Kids Packs to hungry children in the tri-county area.

 

 

“It is so important for kids to be well-nourished not only for their mental and physical well-being but the role it plays related to their success in school,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We are proud to work together as a staff and with our partner UnitedHealthcare to provide youth in our area with healthy food and assist in the fight against hunger in our community.”

The Hi-Five Kids Pack Program provides nutritious meals to underserved children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend. Each Pack contains kid-friendly food such as cereal, shelf-stable milk and juice, fruit cups, and more. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida partners with elementary schools that have a significant percentage of student participation in free- and reduced-lunch programs. Last fiscal year, 42,917 food packs were provided to needy children at 27 elementary schools.  

 

Research has shown a direct correlation between obesity and hunger due to the limited availability of healthy food options. Households with limited resources often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing inexpensive, energy-dense foods that are filling. According to the University of South Florida, nearly one in three children in Florida are either overweight or obese.

This project is the latest in UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” program, an employee-volunteer initiative aimed at preventing hunger and obesity, inspiring service and encouraging volunteerism. For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit www.DoGoodLiveWell.org. Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or “like” Do Good. Live Well. on Facebook.

Since inception of the Magic Volunteer Program (MVP) in 2006, Magic staff, coaches and players have contributed more than 56,000 volunteer hours to the Central Florida community. Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw contributed more than 2,000 hours in community appearances to nearly 1,100 organizations throughout Central Florida, including public schools, basketball camps, and fundraising events. The Orlando Magic is committed to the youth of Central Florida, serving more than 100,000 children annually with a focus on health and wellness, education, and the arts. For more information on the Magic in the community please visit www.orlandomagic.com/community.

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Ben Gordon and Magic Enhance Community Garden in Support of Green Week

2015 March 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

greenmagic

The Orlando Magic are in the middle of their NBA Green Week participation, which runs March 22nd through the 29th. The Magic and partners OUC and Owens Facility Services have joined together to celebrate Green Week 2015. The Magic on Monday, along with Ben Gordon, Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw, STUFF the Magic Mascot, and volunteers from OUC and Owens, helped youth from the Parramore area enhance the garden at Jackson Community Center.

In addition, OUC and Owens Facility Services will joined the Magic in educating the students on the importance of health and nutrition, and educated the youth on water conservation and efforts around the community to “go green.” The Magic donated plants, soil, and gardening tools to benefit the community center.

 

 

Throughout Green Week, the Magic joins the NBA to encourage fans of all ages to share the small steps they take each day to make a difference by using the hashtag #NBAGreen and tag @orlandomagic and @communityleak on social networks. The NBA will be partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant three trees for every 3-pointer made during NBA Green Week. The NBA will plant a tree each time the hashtag #NBAGreen is posted (up to 25,000).

Along with its Green Week 2015 presenting partners OUC and OFS, the Orlando Magic will continue its Green Week celebration during the Friday March 27th Magic vs. Detroit matchup at Amway Center. The Magic, OUC, and OFS will present representatives from the Jackson Community Center with an autographed NBA Green Week basketball at halftime during the game. In addition, OUC will be at Fan Fest (pregame on Church Street) talking to Magic fans about how they can score big at home by saving water, energy, and money.  

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Nuggets-Magic Postgame Locker Room Interviews

2015 March 22
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

That was about the quietest I’ve heard the Orlando Magic locker room in some time. Those players know they got embarrassed by a Denver squad that’s been focused on the offseason for weeks now.

Nikola Vucevic:

 

Below are interviews from James Borrego, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton.

read more…

Gallinari and Jameer Lead Nuggets Who Humiliate Orlando at Home

2015 March 22
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

Sunday night was a pitiful home display by the Orlando Magic. A 40-10 run from late in the first period through into the second period fueled a Denver Nuggets 119-100 win. It’s like the Magic didn’t show up. Danilo Gallinari finished with a career-high 40 points along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes of action. The Italian on his own had more 3-pointers made than the entire Magic squad. Jameer Nelson is going to be a Magic Killer. He only played 16 minutes – all late in the first and the second quarter – but he had 15 points and 5 assists as he torched Orlando’s bench.

Nikola Vucevic had a solid night with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Andrew Nicholson in his first start of the season had 13 points. Victor Oladipo was having a bad night before he scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. Elfrid Payton did not get a third-consecutive triple-double as the rookie tallied 6 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. To go from a great win against Portland on Friday to this abysmal showing on Sunday is beyond frustrating.

 

Below is the full game recap.

read more…