Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
|2010-2011 regular season||J.J. Redick|
Via the Orlando Magic:
On Tuesday, June 14 the Orlando Magic, in partnership with Florida Hospital and the Florida Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, kicked off an awareness campaign promoting “Summer Break Spots” with an event featuring Magic guard J.J. Redick, Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, STUFF the Magic Mascot and Magic Dancers. In an effort to provide food for every child throughout the summer, the Magic is helping spread the word on Summer Break Spot sites throughout Central Florida. Summer Break Spots are part of the federally-funded Summer Nutrition Programs, which provide nutritious meals and snacks to low-income children during the summer months. This program is falling increasingly short of meeting the needs of disadvantaged children due to lack of awareness. Redick, Anderson and Outlaw spent time speaking to the youth about living a healthy lifestyle and eating right all summer long. Then Anderson and Outlaw held a mini-basketball camp with the kids followed by lunch.
Dwight Howard reaffirmed his desire to stay with the [Orlando] Magic, but told NBA.com on Monday that he will definitely become a free agent rather than sign an extension in the next year and also left open the possibility he would reconsider his future in Orlando if the team does not win the title next season.
Speaking during a break at the adidas Eurocamp as part of a tour of the continent for the shoe company, Howard joked with reporters at a news conference and appeared in good spirits.
In a one-on-one interview afterward, though, he made it clear he is not happy with the collective personality of Orlando’s roster and that changes need to be made. The same message, he said, was delivered to owner Rich DeVos and CEO Bob Vander Weide in a meeting last week that included Howard sharing thoughts on everything from personnel to fan involvement and arena atmosphere at home games.
“I want to win a championship,” the All-Star center said. “I think the owners have to really know that. That’s been my goal and my mission since I’ve been in the NBA — to win a championship. I don’t have side goals or agendas. My main goal is to win a championship. I want to have 14 other guys who feel the same way.”
Asked if the Magic have that now, he said, “It’s off and on. Sometimes guys are there whole-heartedly and then sometimes I’ve had teammates allow people getting in their ears and things like that effect the way that they play and approach the game.”
Howard said he did not tell DeVos and Vander Weide specific roster moves he wanted to see.
For those that have been following this story closely, none of this is news.
It makes no sense for Dwight Howard to sign a two-year extension (the longest extension he’s allowed to sign right now) with the Orlando Magic right now, given the state of the roster. Howard is motivated by winning, and right now the only thing the Magic have proven to Howard is that they’re capable of doing nothing more than losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. As such, Howard has every right to let the chips fall where they may, and see whether or not Orlando is capable of reconstructing an elite team and championship contender around him.
Howard’s message is clear — it’s championship or bust.
The wild card is the collective bargaining agreement. Until the players and owners can resolve that issue, there’s not much the Magic can do right now with regards to signing free agents, trading players, and what not. However, when the new CBA is ratified, Orlando needs to get to work. And fast.
Time is of the essence, and Howard has made it known that he’s not going to wait around for the Magic forever. The clock is ticking.
Via the Orlando Magic:
During its annual Business Professionals of the Year Awards, the Rotary Club of Orlando recognizes outstanding business professionals for their impact to the local community via their work, ethics and dedication to philanthropy. This year, the Club honored Orlando Magic President Alex Martins for his commitment to the Central Florida community.
Criteria to be considered for the award include excellence in the nominee’s vocation, leadership abilities, commitment to community outreach and philanthropic service throughout the Central Florida area.
“Martins’ vision, leadership, creativity and integrity took the Orlando Magic to new heights in 2010,” said Eric Schrek, committee chairman for the award selection process. “Not only has he taken that organization to the next level, but he’s continued to show his commitment to the Central Florida community through participation in many local organizations and worthy causes.”
The Rotary Club of Orlando is not the only organization to recognize Martins for his impact on the Central Florida community this year. Orlando Magazine ranked Martins #11 in it 2010 “50 Most Powerful People” list and the Orlando Sentinel ranked him seventh on its annual list of top power players.
Via the Orlando Magic:
As the school year winds down, the Blessings in a Backpack program will take a brief hiatus. However, the program was a huge success because of Magic All-Star Dwight Howard, school staff and Magic volunteers. Through their collective efforts the program assisted students at Lake Como and Kaley Elementary. The Blessings in a Backpack program is designed to provide food and nutrition to children on weekends when school is not in session so come Monday they return ready to learn. Each week, the Magic staff through the Magic Volunteer Program (MVP) would fill backpacks to go home with hundreds of students for the weekend.
“Studies show that children who do not have enough to eat have a difficult time staying focused,” said Magic Vice President of Community Relations/Government Affairs Linda Landman Gonzalez. “Thanks to Dwight’s generosity and through the Magic Volunteer Program, these students had nutritional choices on the weekend and came to school on Monday ready to learn.”
“The Blessings in a Backpack program allowed our students to put learning first and taken hunger out of the equation,” said Lake Como Elementary Guidance Counselor Sandy Glaize. “Any program or intervention that mitigates the devastating effects of hunger on children is invaluable to the community. Dwight Howard and the Magic’s generous contribution of funds and volunteer time has made that possible for our Lake Como students. Since the program began in 2008, the Magic’s contribution has provided over 50,000 weekend meals to our students.”
Magic volunteers stuffed backpacks twice a week during the school year for the students. The Blessings in a Backpack program at Lake Como and Kaley Elementary became a reality due to the generous support of Howard, who donated $25,000 to this project as part of winning the 2009-10 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award. Each year, the Orlando Magic honors a player who has dedicated his efforts off-the-court for the purpose of enhancing others’ lives at the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Black Tie and Tennies Gala. In addition to receiving the award, the player is granted $50,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to donate to the charity of his choice. Howard donated the other $25,000 to BETA Center in December.