Life on the Road

By Patrick Rees | November 9, 2006

Life on the road isn’t easy, even if you’re in the NBA. Sure you get to stay in five-star hotels and enjoy a healthy per diem, but sleeping in a hotel, dealing with late flights and the hostility of another arena can drag a team down.

On the other hand, if handled appropriately, playing away from home can help to build chemistry and establish a team bond that can strengthen even the jet lagged.

When the Magic travel, they arrive in the visiting city on the eve of their next game. Depending on whether or not they just played a game, the team has ample time to explore and enjoy whatever city is on the itinerary. Some players like to kick back and relax in their hotel rooms, maybe order room service and a movie, while others take part in sightseeing and eating at the local favorites.

“I just stay in my room,” stated Keith Bogans when asked about his rituals while on the road. “I might watch a movie in my room; I just like to relax.”

Carlos Arroyo is on the same page as Bogans when it comes to time away from home. “Sometimes I will go out and eat, but it’s important to come back to your room and get some rest. When you’re on the road, there are so many things that can distract you, so staying focused is our main goal.”

The Magic are currently on their first multi-game road trip of the season. With games at Indiana, Minnesota and Boston, this will be the team’s fourth-longest road trip of the year, tied with another three-game swing in April. Despite the seasonably cooler weather in all three of their stops, the Magic are looking forward to the trip and the opportunity to build camaraderie while on the road.

“We understand that playing on the road in the NBA is not an easy task, but we’re a great team and we are starting to get together and build our confidence and chemistry,” Arroyo said. “Hopefully this road trip will give us the chemistry that we need to get better.”

One of the ways the team bonds is through eating out together while on the road. Magic guard Keyon Dooling states, “I hate to just stay in the hotel room. I usually call the concierge, find the nicest restaurant, and just try different things. You never know if you’re going to get a chance to go back, so you want to experience the city while you’re there.”

While on the road during the pre-season, the Magic tried to implement numerous bonding experiences, which they are hoping to carry over into the regular season.

“The cool thing about our team is that you can hang out with anybody,” Dooling said. “But recently Grant (Hill) has gotten everybody together and we usually all go out to eat, see movies and things like that. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know Grant this year. He’s taken on that role of organizing everyone and he’s a great person to learn from.”

The Magic know as well as any other NBA team that road victories are hard to come by. The Magic finished last season with only 10 road wins. But with the chance to bond, whether it be eating out as a group, or resting up and watching a good movie with a couple of teammates in the comforts of the hotel room, life on the road can provide a unique opportunity to come together and grow as a unit.

Patrick Rees currently serves as a Communications Intern for the Orlando Magic.