By John Denton
December 2, 2012

Greetings from Los Angeles, the beginning point of the Orlando Magic’s nine-day, five-game West Coast roadtrip and shockingly home to a dismal rainstorm. Whoever penned that song, ``It Never Rains in Southern California’’ needs a re-write. And trust me, when it rains here it’s a big deal – as in lead-of-the-news big deal and no-one-can-drive big deal.

Day 1 of the longest trip of the season for the Magic is in the books and already it’s somewhat of a mental and physical grind. The team didn’t practice, but 5 ½-hour charter flight and adjustment to West Coast time were enough to zap most just starting this marathon trip. And where the three-hour time change hits you right away is when you are sleepy at 10 p.m. and wide awake writing a blog at 5 a.m.

Along the way on this trip, we’ll hit L.A. (Lakers), San Francisco/Oakland (Warriors), Salt Lake City (Jazz), Sacramento (Kings) and Phoenix (Suns). In all, we’ll travel 7,178 miles and play in three states and two different time zones. We hope to use this blog to make you laugh and give you some insight into what the Magic are going though on this long roadtrip.

The Magic’s team charter left sunny Orlando at noon on Saturday – just 14 hours after their final game of a five-game homestand had ended. The plane is broken into three sections: players in the front, coaches in the middle and staff/media in the back. The players have monstrous chairs that offer lots of legroom and almost a full recline. The coaches have tables with which they can draw up game plans and watch game footage on laptops.

As for the back of the plane, it’s a place when you can see Magic Senior Vice President of Communications Joel Glass and radio play-by-play voice Dennis Neumann reading the same book – Glass on a i-pad and Neumann on the old-school hardback version. David Steele killed time by watching ``This is Spinal Tap,’’ while radio voices Joey Colon and Richie Adubato were busy talking to anyone who would listen to them. As for TV sideline reporter Dante Marchitelli, I’m pretty sure he spent the entire flight texting sweet nothings to the other half of that wacky ``Dante/Galante’’ duo, George Galante.

Unlike in years past when the team stayed in Marina Del Rey, we’re sluming it this year in Beverly Hills. There was a Bugatti parked outside the hotel when we arrived, there’s a Porsche dealership near us and tricked-out Land Rovers here are about as prevalent as lizards in Florida.

A group of us walked Rodeo Drive and dined at a nearby restaurant, but we didn’t see one movie star. (I’m blaming the rain). At dinner, senior TV and Radio Producer Tye Eastham recited a line from ``Doc Hollywood,’’ where a child asks his mother if the person seated next to them is a star. ``No,’’ the mother says, ``it’s Ted Danson.’’ On that note, I’ll wrap up this first of many blogs to come over the next nine days of this trip. We’ll be heading over to Staples Center later today for shootaround sessions for the Magic and Lakers. I’m looking forward to talking to former Magic star Dwight Howard for the first time since last April and get his thoughts on his divorce from Orlando. It should be interesting.

So please check back to the blog all week, and I’ll provide trip tidbits along the way. And if it sounds like I’m desperate for page hits and repeated visits to, well, I am. Someone has to make these grueling trips to Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Phoenix and I hope it’s me for many more years to come.



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.



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