This Orlando Magic team is different.
It's not the same as the Shaq era teams. This isn't anywhere similar to the Dwight Howard life we lived. These are not the heart and hustle boys. This Magic team is different.
Not only that, this team is special.
And they're about to bring a new reality into the lives of all Magic fans everywhere, and I'm worried (VERY worried) that we're not prepared for it. I'm worried that we're going to respond to them and treat them like the teams of old. I'm worried that Magic fans are going miss the chance to join on to this new reality. It's going to look similar, and if we're not careful with it, if we don't recognize it for how special it is, we'll run the risk of losing it.
We've done it before and if we were to repeat it with this group, what an unbelievable offense to the basketball gods.
What do I mean?
I have been watching and covering basketball for 20+ years and I've NEVER seen a team like this one. There is, for lack of a better word, Magic there. You could see it last night with Jeff Dowtin (a kid who is almost guaranteed to be a G-League player) hitting the last second buzzer beater to win the game. A moment every kid who's ever played basketball has dreamed of. But what made the moment special wasn't that Dowtin had a dream come true moment. What made the moment special was if you looked over to the sideline. Every. Single. Magic. Player.... looked as if their last second basketball dream just came true.
They weren't just happy for him. They were there with him.
They were in the moment.
For 7 seconds, they allowed themselves to be him. And when Dowtin hit that shot, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, Suggs, Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Lopez, Fultz, ALL OF THEM, reacted as if they hit the shot themselves. And every Magic player, wanted nothing more than to shower this young man with celebration for a moment that he had blessed them to share in.
In all my years, I've not seen a team that enjoys playing together as much as these guys do. If everything goes the Magic management is planning, this could be the start of a real dynasty. It's going to take a couple years, and there will be a few additions and subtractions. But keeping this as much of this core group of guys together as possible (Anthony, Suggs, Hampton, Isaac, Fultz, Carter, Wagner, Okeke, Bamba) for the next 4-6 years should mean BIG success for this team.
You've got me hooked fellas. I for one, can't wait to witness it all.