Thursday, January 20, 2005

Orlando Magic Game Tonight

Those of you that know me well know that I am a big Orlando Magic fan. I am a sports nut with a passion for professional and college sports that borders on insanity. Tonight the Orlando Magic have a home game against the Houston Rockets. Now normally this would be just another game in a regular NBA season except for the fact that tonight is the first time Tracy McGrady (She-Mac) returns to play at home against his former team (my beloved Magic). Here are a few things that I would like to see from tonight's game, but first a little warning. From time to time, I will post sports related material for my loyal readers (both of you). I am not a sports writer, nor would I pretend to be considering my writing is not that good, however I will pretend once in a while just to have some fun. Here is my first shot at a sports column.

I never thought I would be more angry or hurt at a professional player as I was the day (July 18, 1996 in case anyone cares) Shaquille O'neal announced that had signed with the Lakers. I had invested so much into his team and to hear that your favorite player was skipping town left me feeling cheated and bitter. I swore that the first game against the Lakers the following year, I (along with everyone else lucky enough to score a ticket to the game) were going to give him an ear full of what we thought about him at that point in time. Well I went out booed him and give him the one finger salute and you know what? He came out played inspired by the crowd's reaction and the Lakers won the game.

Now comes She-Mac. While I was more hurt/heartbroken than anything else with Shaq, I was pissed off at She-Mac. This is a guy that the Magic paid max money for under the collective bargaining agreement and had yet to average 20 points a game. They had faith and were willing to pay for potential rather than production.

So what did we get out of the She-Mac experience in Orlando? We got 3 seasons with about a .500 record in each, 3 first-round playoff losses, and last year's nightmarish 21 win season that lead to his demand for a trade since he would op out of his contract. We were able to see first hand his extraordinary scoring talent but complete lack of heart and complete indifference to his teammates, the organizations, the city, and even worse his indifference to the fans that worship the ground he walked on (me included). We were also able to get into the mind of She-Mac one more time as a result of his Sports Illustrated Article 2 weeks ago.

He gave us wonderful insight about how: he doesn't know how many bathrooms are in his house ("I don't know 5, 6 maybe 8, I'm not really sure); how there were times where he didn't play his hardest ("how can you say you try hard everyday at work, I mean I don't think about how much I'm making while I'm on the court (meanwhile he made $13.28 mil which is roughly $199,ooo per game since he only played in 67 games, or damn near $5,ooo per minute played since he averaged 40 mins in those games)); how he doesn't know what it's like to balance a checkbook and live paycheck to paycheck ("my first paycheck was for $215,000); that it is cool that he's the first NBA player with his own plane; and how the fans don't know what it's like to be him, to be on tv all the time, to make that much money.

Having said all of that (if I still have any readers left), let me give you my wish list for the game tonight:

1. Have Magic fans treat him with the same indifference that he treated us with. Do not boo him, jeer him or salute him with a finger. Simply sit in your seats quietly when he is introduced, sit quietly when he makes a shot or even touches the ball, and clap lightly at the end of the game when the Magic win. Do not rub it in his face, trust me as a former athlete there is nothing more frustrating than indifference from fans, you like to be booed when you are away and cheered when you are at home, it gets you psyched up. So just sit there quietly and let him think.

2. Have the Magic's newly acquired Doug Christie put the clamps down on She-Mac and hold him to around 8-10 points and see how he reacts following that embarrasement on national television, since he couldn't get up for a big game against his former team (which by the way has a better record than his Rockets).

3. This one is in direct conflict with number 2 but bare with me. Have She-Mac torch the Magic for something like 40+ points but have Magic win the game convingcingly since no other Rocket scored in double figures due to his selfish style of play. This way a few things are accomplished: the entire country can see how selfish he is; everyone can see that he is not a good teammate (more like a cancer); and lastly and most important the entire league can see why the Magic traded this loser to begin with.

And lastly...
4. Not one of the previous things happens, meaning She-Mac has a good game, the Rockets play well, BUT playing like the team they truly are, the Magic have 4 or 5 double figure scorers led by Grant Hill with about 22 points and Steve Francis with 21 points.

Go MAGIC!!!!


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