Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
The rise and fall of the Orlando Magic as an elite team and championship contender will be examined by Magic Basketball in a two-part series — here’s Part II.
As the Magic continue to face their uncertain near-future, I’m thinking about something I imagine a lot of us are: John Milton. Specifically, I’m thinking about Paradise Lost, his account of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden. It seems to me that Magic nation probably feels how Adam and Eve did shortly after God exposed the whole apple/fig leaf-clothing fiasco: “We had it all, and we blew it somehow, and now we need to figure out who to blame. Also, I hate snakes.” Yeah, verily, fellow Magic watchers, we have dined on the ambrosia of celestial basketball, have stared lovingly into the pond at our reflections as Eve did, contemplating how nice it was to be a perennial contender. And now we must make our way into the less hospitable basketball wilderness, to try and figure out how to reclaim that divinity.
There is a strain of criticism in Paradise Lost readers that says that Adam and Eve did us all a solid by getting kicked out of Eden–their screw-up, basically, gave us life as we know it. It’s a pleasant take on the notion of original sin, usually called the fortunate fall. By sinning their way out of Eden, Adam and Eve became people, and exposed the rest of the race to all the goods and bads that come with the territory. For the Magic, our fortunate fall was Rashard Lewis.
You remember that sign-and-trade. The Magic were getting a 27-year-old inside/outside player, the Sonics’ career leader in three-pointers, a player who had scored more than 20 points per game for three straight seasons and was coming of a career high in that department. Of the trade, Stan Van Gundy said, “It really makes our roster very, very good. And even more than that, what this says to me and what our organization has done with Rashard shows me and should show everyone out there how committed this organization is to winning and winning a championship.”