Denton: A Meet & Greet to Cherish Forever

By John Denton
March 22, 2012

ORLANDO – Every time his parents tune in to watch an Orlando Magic game on television, 3-year-old Cortealius Robinson grabs a tiny basketball and does his best Dwight Howard impression with a dunk on a miniature goal.

On Wednesday night just before the Magic’s demolition of the Phoenix Suns, Robinson got to meet Howard in person and see the superstar center’s dunks from a courtside seat at the Amway Center.

Shy at first, but ultimately warming up enough to slap high fives, Cortealius got to go behind the scenes and meet his hero in the Magic’s training room. Cortealius had been sick most of the day with a fever, but his eyes grew wide and a smile was splashed across his face when he and younger brother, Douglas, got to meet Howard for the first time.

``Hey, guys!!!’’ Howard bellowed as the children walked into the training facilities. ``It’s so nice to meet you. Gimme five!!!’’

Wednesday was a happy day for the Robinson family despite the troublesome medical conditions running throughout the family. Both Cortealius and Douglas have cancer that they contracted from their mother, Lillian Robinson. Lillian has Stage 4 cervical and uterine cancer and is scheduled to undergo surgery next week. Cortealius and Douglas suffer from cancer, autism, ADHD and kidney and lung problems, meaning many of their days are spent in the hospital with testing and treatments.

Their parents’ dream was for Cortealius to meet Howard, the Magic’s six-time all-star center. Howard warmly welcomed the family during the meet and greet behind closed doors and then put on a superstar show during Orlando’s 103-93 win. Howard had 28 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots to lift the Magic past the Suns.

The only difference was this time was that Cortealius got to see the dunks first hand instead of watching them on television. Wearing his blue No. 12 Magic jersey, Cortealius got to see his favorite player up close in personal on Wednesday night.

``This was (Cortealius’) dream. Every time we watch the Magic game when he sees Dwight Howard dunk he jumps up and slams it on the little hoop that we have. He tries to do everything like Dwight,’’ Lillian Robinson said. ``Even like today, when he’s had a fever and he’s been coughing because of his illness, he keeps going. He was just so excited about getting to meet Dwight.’’

Teal’c Robinson brought his sons and wife to their first Magic game in 2010 during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Magic won that night to force a Game 6, and the family has been hooked on Magic basketball ever since. Robinson said Orlando is a better place to live because of the impact that the Magic have on and off the court with fans.

``The opportunity is unique for us and it’s so special to our family and my kids,’’ Teal’c said Wednesday night. ``This organization means a lot to the city of Orlando. What the Magic provide means so much to parents and their kids getting to come to the games. I know the Magic do a good job working in their community. And it’s really nice what they do for the families who don’t have much. It means a lot to me that my favorite team would do that. The Magic have been my favorite team since I’ve been watching basketball and they mean everything to me and my family.’’

John Denton writes for John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

Follow John Denton on Twitter here