By John DentonNov. 28, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS – Evan Fournier’s ``samurai’’ haircut – one that features a distinctive top-knot pony tail – has become a consistent source of humor for the Orlando Magic and a spark of motivation for the standout shooting guard.
Fournier, a native of suburban Paris, wore his hair long on the top and short on the sides over the summer while he playing for the French National Team in the FIBA World Cup. When Fournier’s hair kept falling down into his face during games he went to a ponytail look to solve the problem.
That hairstyle has generated dozens of catcalls from opposing fans when the Magic play in road games. Fournier, who came into Friday’s road game in Indiana averaging a career-best 16.1 points per game, said he actually likes the taunts and jokes from the fans because they fire him up and help him lock in on the task at hand.
``I love it. Every game on the road I get two or three jokes and I think it’s funny,’’ said Fournier, who is in his first season with the Magic following a June trade with the Denver Nuggets. ``(The jokes) kind of give me motivation. They say, `Your ponytail is horrible.’ I think it’s funny, but I just don’t like it when my teammates laugh at it. But it’s part of the game and it’s fun.’’
Fournier’s best friend on the Magic, center Nikola Vucevic, usually doesn’t miss an opportunity to rib Fournier about his ponytail. Vucevic said there have been more than a few times already this season when players along the Magic bench have burst into laughter upon hearing fans’ scream at Fournier about his hairdo.
``In Detroit, I didn’t hear exactly what the guy said, but I did hear, `ponytail,’ and I just smiled,’’ Vucevic said with a laugh. ``It usually happens when there’s no noise in the area and somebody yells out something about his hair and it’s funny to all of us.’’
ROAD WARRIORS: The Magic have gotten plenty of experience traveling this season what with them already playing a NBA-most 10 road games. And that was before the team departed on Thanksgiving Night for a six-game road trip that will cover 10 days.
Many of the Magic’s players shared stories on Friday of the packing adventures they endured while trying to plan for a 10-day trip. Further complicating matters, Orlando will play in cities with freezing temperatures (Indiana and Sal Lake City) and warm weather climes (Phoenix, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco).
``Man, it took forever to pack,’’ Magic guard Victor Oladipo said. ``You just have to make sure that you have your necessities. On the West Coast you don’t need winter coats and maybe just a sweater. But Indy is the coldest city we’ll be in. It took awhile (to pack). I just take my time because I don’t want to under pack. That’s the worst thing you can do.’’
Vucevic said because of the large amount of clothes that players have to take on long trips, there is an inordinate amount of packing and unpacking and folding and refolding.
``Surprisingly, I (packed) pretty quickly this time because I just picked a couple of mix and matches to go with my shoes. But I did need two bags this time,’’ said the 7-foot Vucevic, who has noted that his size-15 shoes take up a large section of his bag. ``The thing that is really annoying is when you get to the hotel and you need a shirt, it’s always at the bottom of the bag and you have to get everything out. Then, something gets unfolded and you have to fold it again. That’s the annoying part.’’
Channing Frye, a veteran of nine NBA seasons, said he gets help from his wife for packing and tries to make it as simple as possible. ``I’m like nine underwear, nine socks, nine shirts, nine shorts and deodorant. I can just go to the store and buy something if I really need it because I’m an adult. But underpacking is the worst. But there are ways to get around that with basketball shirts and Orlando Ts.’’
ETC: Oladipo always likes coming back to the Hoosier state after starring in college at Indiana University. Oladipo’s NBA debut came in Indiana last season and approximately 200 IU fans attended the game and cheered the Magic guard’s every highlight. On Thursday night, a dozen fans braved the cold and snowy conditions in Indianapolis to get Oladipo’s autograph outside the team hotel. Oladipo spent a chunk of his summer on the IU campus getting in basketball work and visiting with his former coaches and teammates. ``When I go back there, I have pretty much everything I need, so it’s a good place to go,’’ Oladipo said. ``I go back and hang out with Coach (Tom) Creen and his family and there are several players there that I still know pretty well, so it’s always a great place for me.’’ … Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he has talked to his team about approaching the longest roadtrip of the season in one-game segments rather than thinking of the totality of a 10-day trip that will stretch from Indiana, to Arizona, to California and Utah. Said Vaughn: ``I think it’s not a good thing to look at it in totality because then you might rush the trip and you skip steps along the way. Overall, for us it’s about us taking advantage of this most important thing and that’s today’s game.’’ … Orlando was scheduled to fly west after Friday’s game for Sunday night’s game in Phoenix. It will serve as somewhat of a homecoming for Frye, who went to high school in the Phoenix area and was a member of the Suns for the past five seasons.