ORLANDO, Fla. — In late Oct. and early Nov., NBA teams are usually diving head-first into the season. However, because of the league’s continued lockout, teams are finding themselves with an unusual amount of spare time.
The Orlando Magic have decided to make good use of that time.
In one of many volunteer and charity efforts to take place for the team this fall, the Magic’s general manager and coaching staff participated in the President’s Challenge Program at Nap Ford Community School, where they hosted physical fitness clinics and donated athletic wear and school supplies to the students who attended.
Magic GM Otis Smith said that despite his league enduring a labor stoppage, it’s important that teams don’t forget to give back to their community.
“We’re fortunate to be working for an ownership group that gets it and truly cares about the community,” Smith said of the Magic’s owner, Rich DeVos. “We’d prefer to be playing basketball right now, but because we’re not this gives us time to spend time with some of the people who need to see us the most. So getting out in the community and spending time with the kids like this is a plus-plus-plus for us.”
This isn’t the only volunteer effort the Magic are undertaking this week. Last week, the coaching staff did cleanup work at an Orlando recreation center.
“We were just outside of this building on Friday doing a cleanup thing. This is a lot more fun because I’m not a yard work guy,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “This is more fun, seeing the kids and playing with them.”
“The Magic have always been very committed to the community and I’m proud to be in an organization like that. They’re not somebody who just does it because it feels it has to. There’s a genuine feeling here that the Magic want to help the central Florida community any way possible.”
And that’s not all the Magic will continue to do. Van Gundy and the rest of his coaching staff, which includes Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing, will teach a basketball fundamentals clinic for 40 kids aged 8-14.
“It’s just so good to see their smiles,” Smith said of the volunteer work. “A lot of these kids just need somebody to come out and show them some attention and we’ve done that. It’s just good for everybody to spend some time with these kids who are growing up in our neighborhoods and try to make a difference in their lives.”
We at The Good in Sports thank the Magic for their great work in their community and present them with a Gold Star!
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