Denton: Oladipo Adjusting; Ring for Rashard

By John Denton
Nov. 20, 2013

ORLANDO – In addition to having to make the transition from college to the NBA and from shooting guard to point guard, Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo is also trying to get used to the physicality and grind of professional basketball.

Because many of the athletes are bigger and stronger at the professional level, Oladipo has had to get used to getting banged around and knocked to the floor on drives to the hoop. Oladipo, who made the first start of his pro career on Wednesday against the Miami Heat, has tried to prepare himself for the increased physicality by taking extra precautions with his body and his gear, but it’s still a nightly test for his body.

``I wear a lot of pads, so it doesn’t hurt that bad,’’ Oladipo said with a laugh. ``My first couple of years of college I used to fall on the floor a lot, so I’m kind of used to it now. I’m eventually going to learn how to not fall as much. But it’s all a process. It might sound weird, but it is all a process. I’m constantly trying to take care of my body and staying in the weightroom and wearing protective padding so I don’t hurt myself.’’

Oladipo also has had to get used to the flurry of games that comes with the NBA’s marathon season. He went through his first back-to-back set of games when the Magic opened the season at Indiana and Minnesota and he’s already endured three regular-season road trips. Oladipo has sought out the advice of several of his teammates and most seem to suggest the same thing.

``They all tell me to take care of my body and get my rest,’’ Oladipo said. ``So that’s what I’ve tried to do.’’

RING FOR RASHARD: As part of the celebration for the 25th Anniversary Season, the Magic showed a video tribute Wednesday night for Rashard Lewis, who played in Orlando from 2007-11. Lewis helped the Magic reach the 2009 NBA Finals and the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals and became the first power forward in NBA history to lead the league in 3-point makes in the 2007-08 season.

Lewis was traded by the Magic to the Washington Wizards in 2011, and he reached a career highlight last spring when he was a part of Miami’s championship-winning squad. Still, Lewis considers his time in Orlando the best of his 16-year career.

``I had a lot of fun here, not only basketball-wise, but my family had a great time here,’’ Lewis said. ``We had great teams with Stan Van Gundy being the coach and making the Finals and playing against the Lakers, America’s team. It was just so much fun and so much history here that we made. It’s something that I’ll never forget and it’s always in the back of my mind.’’
Lewis said winning the championship was the perfect capper for what has been an exceptional NBA career. After falling into the second round of the draft, Lewis not only survived in the NBA, but has thrived for 16 seasons.

``Oh my gosh, that was so gratifying, especially after playing so long,’’ Lewis said of winning a title. ``Going through the ups and downs, playing on All-Star teams, having success and making it to the Finals here with the Magic and not winning it, it’s like a big relief when you can get over that hump and win one. We all know how hard it is to win. There have been a lot of guys who have had great careers and never got a championship ring, but I’m blessed before I retire to have a (championship) ring on my finger.’’





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