Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
|2010-2011 regular season||Quentin Richardson|
Via the Orlando Magic:
In the past year alone, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins not only oversaw the finishing touches on the construction and grand opening of the dazzling Amway Center, but he also served in a leadership role for a franchise that set new highs for season tickets sold and won at least 50 games for a fourth consecutive season.
So it’s easy to see why Martins’ impressive profile continues to rise among the most important and influential leaders in Orlando and Central Florida. Already named the Rotary Club of Orlando’s Outstanding Business Professional of the Year, Martins has climbed to third overall in Orlando Magazine’s eighth annual list of The Most Powerful People in Orlando. The July edition of the magazine will soon be released, revealing Martins ranking one spot ahead of close friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Martins, 47, is the highest ranking private citizen on the list. Newly elected Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs is first in Orlando Magazine’s “Most Powerful People’’ rankings, while Speaker of the Florida House, Dean Cannon, is second. Martins moved up to third on the list after being ranked seventh a year ago.
Earlier this year, Martins ranked at No. 7 on the Orlando Sentinel’s most powerful people list. Magic superstar center Dwight Howard climbed to No. 26 on the Orlando Magazine “Most Powerful People’’ list after coming in at No. 39 a year ago. Howard was an All-Star for a fifth consecutive season, while averaging a career-best in scoring (22.9 points per game) and becoming the first player in history to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award three straight years.
Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
When it opened last October, Orlando’s Amway Center was widely hailed as the finest arena not only in the NBA, but in all of North America. And largely because of the dazzling new facility – not to mention the game-day promotions and friendly, accessible environment – the Orlando Magic’s overall stadium experience was lauded recently by ESPN The Magazine.
ESPN’s ninth annual Ultimate Standings ranked the Magic’s stadium experience the best in the NBA and fifth overall among all teams from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA. The Magic beat out Portland, Memphis, Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas for top honors in the NBA. They trailed only the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Penguins in overall stadium experience among all professional teams.
The Magic continued to score well in the overall rankings and continue to be one of the best franchises in all major sports when it comes to serving their fans.
The Magic ranked as the 16th best franchise overall and fourth best in the NBA when it comes to measuring how much a franchise gives back to fans in exchange for the time and money that they invest. The rankings were devised based on factors such as bang for the buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching and being on track to win a championship.
The Magic continued to earn high marks in several key categories – bang for the buck (fifth among NBA teams), fan relations (sixth among NBA teams), affordability (seventh among NBA teams), stadium experience (first among NBA teams), ownership (seventh among NBA teams), players (12th in the NBA), coaching (ninth in the NBA) and being on a title track (ninth in the NBA).
The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers won the overall award – one in which the Magic were ranked second a year ago. The San Antonio Spurs were the highest ranked NBA team in the overall standings, ranking fifth this year.
The former [Orlando] Magic first-round draft pick on Tuesday extended his contract with Regal FC Barçelona by one year to run through the 2011-12 season, ending the Magic’s immediate hopes of adding [Fran] Vázquez to their roster.
But Vázquez’s Spain-based agent, José Cobelo, said in a phone interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday that his client would be interested in joining the Magic after his contract with Barçelona ends — assuming the NBA’s labor woes are cleared up by that time.
“Of course Fran would give serious consideration to the Magic,” Cobelo said. “That has been his intention all of these years. He signed with Barçelona for a year to keep that door open. Once we get a tangible offer we will evaluate it. Unfortunately, we can’t do that now with the potential of a lockout lurking.”
Indeed, the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement with its players is set to expire on July 1, and a lockout seems all but inevitable.
If there is a truncated season or if the season must be scuttled altogether, players will not get paid for missed games.
“The Magic, with the potential of a lockout, weren’t a viable option for Fran,” Cobelo said. “We don’t know with any degree of certainty what the conditions would be or whether he’d get to play [any games because of the labor situation].”
Regal FC Barçelona announced Vázquez’s extension on its English-language website, and Cobelo confirmed the length of the extension.
It looks like the Orlando Magic will have to wait longer to bring Fran Vazquez over from Spain, a player that could step in and fill a need at back-up center with skills similar to Marcin Gortat, with uncertainty surrounding the new collective bargaining being the deterrent.
The question is whether or not, with the franchise’s future in the balance with Dwight Howard‘s impending decision to stay or leave in 2012, it’ll make any difference for Vazquez to come over in hopes of helping the Magic win games.
Vazquez’s value would only be maximized if Orlando is still in contention to win titles.
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.