The plan in Orlando isn’t much different than it is in many other places. Try to build around a few young players, mix in veterans, get some good coaching, stay healthy, make a lot of money. Somewhere that train has never stayed on the tracks long enough for that franchise.
Early they had Shaq and Penny and 3D and Nick and Horace came because he hated being on Da Bulls and the money was sweet and boy how they could motor. The NBA was transitioning from the grind it out and thump style of the Bad Boys and Riley’s Knicks to a fresher scene not as reliant on a bunch of great players like the Celtics and Lakers and 76ers of the 80s. Jordan’s Bulls showed the flaws of the slower style and the Magic and the Rockets were trying to copy the Bulls without a player like MJ. The Rockets made hay while MJ was in baseball shape but while he was once more in full flight the Bulls took control and were as ferocious as the greatest teams in NBA history, the mid 80s Lakers and Celtics and Wilt’s two championship teams.
That Magic team blew up when Shaq didn’t feel enough love from Orlando’s fans and headed west at the behest of the great Jerry West. Penny got hurt and the fade began. Then luck struck twice and the Magic got Dwight Howard. Dwight played well but the song remained the same and there were no rings.
Now there isn’t a superstar to build around and the Magic is a younger version of the Wizards without a player like Wall. Vucevic, Fournier, and Ibaka are very nice players and Gordon and Payton have potential. Unlike the Wizards with Beal, there isn’t a bad contract on the roster. Lady luck will have to smile but that’s always the case. Playing in the East and low expectations help. To reach nirvana, one will have to become a superstar and two will have to become very, very good because that’s a model that always works. Ibaka wasn’t very, very good in OKC and that’s one reason the Thunder never lifted the cup.
The NBA can’t monitor its referees all the time and that’s one reason a game can be fixed. League executives will swear up and down they’re doing all they can to keep the game clean. You’ll know that is true when referees get paid 7 figures per year. What’s to stop someone from giving a referee an envelope with $50,000 in it and whispering enough words in his ear? And if 50 large isn’t enough to turn his keys try 75. Think that isn’t easy to do? If you do, you believe in the Easter Bunny. Keep that in mind the next time you see enough non-calls on plays the refs couldn’t have missed so the spread gets covered one way or another. Watch a ref t up a player over nothing which pushes his and his coach’s buttons and gets both ejected. Then remember that some refs make around $200,000 per year which isn’t much compared to what players and coaches they have to deal with make. Then think about how everyone likes nice things and nice things are expensive and there’s money everywhere especially in very expensive courtside seats right by the refs.
It’s so close I can smell and taste it and why can’t I just get enough to live really well? I’m important to the game, too, and everyone else is making big bank. A college ref can’t do what I do. Nobody will notice. What’s the big deal who wins or by how much or how many points get scored? It’s just entertainment……………
This piece was written by Jim Swigart. Jim has been seriously writing for at least eight years and previously wrote about music for a now defunct online magazine for about two years. Jim briefly blogged about sports for an online site and currently blogs weekly about sports on his own site.
His academic background is in business and math. He has done numerous work tasks besides writing. My interests include exercise, sports, music, and politics. You can reach James for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org