Evan Fournier Participates in Virtual Q&A With Magic Season Ticket Holders
ORLANDO - Orlando Magic season ticket holders got a chance to learn about Evan Fournier’s favorite cheat meal, what he’s doing in his free time inside the Disney campus, who his mentors were when he first came into the league, his favorite Magic moment so far and a whole lot more on Monday evening. The Magic’s 6-foot-7 starting shooting guard answered questions from season ticket holders during a virtual Q&A moderated by team broadcaster Dante Marchitelli.
One of the many interesting topics Fournier discussed was his first NBA basket, which happened when he was a rookie on the Denver Nuggets against the Philadelphia 76ers on Halloween in 2012, two days after he had turned 20 years old.
“Coach (George Karl) calls me in and my first basket was on top of the key, dribble to my right hand, spin and I kind of shot a left-handed floater on Nick Young,” he recalled. “It touched every part of the rim – back, left, front, side, whatever. And that was my first basket. It wasn’t pretty. But who cares, it was my first basket. Right after that I had a corner three. It was a good moment for sure.”
In Orlando, where he has spent the last six seasons of his NBA career, Fournier has enjoyed several memorable moments. His favorite, though, to this point was the win over the Boston Celtics last season that clinched the franchise’s first playoff berth in seven years.
“That was a really powerful moment,” he said. “Not just me, but some of the players who have been with the Magic for a long time now – four years, five years, six years depending on who you are talking about – and to just earn our playoff spot with this group in Boston with a big win on the road, our back against the wall and the season that we’ve had and the failures we’ve had in the past, it was a huge moment. Celebrating in the locker room was really a fun night.”
Now strictly focused on what’s ahead, which is a first round playoff matchup against the mighty Milwaukee Bucks, the Frenchman is confident in his team. Right now it’s all about everyone getting healthy, including himself as he is currently recovering from a non-COVID-19 illness, and everyone getting on the same page as they ramp up preparations for the series.
“I think we’re all excited and we’re going to use those two (seeding) games to really just work on our game, on our intensity, on our plays and all that. And just use those days of practices to get ready for the playoffs, period.”
When he isn’t at practice or a game at Disney, Fournier has been doing a lot of reading and reflecting, which he has enjoyed since arriving on campus more than a month ago. What he does miss is his family, his favorite cheat meal, which is a pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s, and playing in front of fans, which he says has been a major adjustment.
“When you are playing in front of 18,000 people or 20,000 people every night and then you go to an empty gym where it’s something like sound effects, it’s different,” he said. “The energy is different. You can’t feed off the fans or you can’t build momentum just based on the fans going crazy and all that. It makes it a little more challenging. So, we do miss them. Hopefully next season we are going to be able to play in front of the fans.”
As one of the older, more experienced players on this Magic roster, Fournier takes pride in mentoring the youngsters. Any time a teammate needs advice or is looking for encouragement, he’s always there to assist.
When he was in the early stages of his NBA career playing for the Nuggets, Fournier’s veteran mentors were Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller.
“I was really lucky to have those two guys, legit NBA vets that went through a lot,” he said.
Fournier is not expected to be ready to play when the Magic take on the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. But he says he’s feeling much better and is using this time to refresh for the playoffs.
Interacting with Magic players is one of the many perks of being a season ticket holder. Several players have participated in virtual Q&As with season ticket holders the last few months.