Jake's Take: The End of the Beginning

Magic Radio producer Jake Chapman spends hours on end alone in his studio. If that’s not depressing enough, he regularly talks to himself. Jake’s Take is an aggregate of his ramblings, musings, and occasionally coherent thoughts.

Posted by Jake Chapman, Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 10:45 AM

The End of the Beginning

On Thursday night 60 young men will realize a life-long dream. Kids from Turkey to Tennessee, France to Florida and everywhere in between will receive the phone call they and their families have been waiting on for years. Some will laugh, some will cry, some will be stoic. But all will know that the road gets no easier and the competition no lesser. Rather, most of them will be humbled immediately. No longer will they be the best player on the court every night, and some of them may never play a minute in the NBA. Getting drafted is merely the end of the beginning for 60 careers. Still though, for Thursday night, those 60 men will be on top of the world, buoyed by the Magic word: hope.

And maybe that should be the way we look at our Orlando Magic. It’s a new day in Central Florida, with front office prodigy Rob Hennigan manning the helm for the Orlando Magic’s basketball operation. Gone are familiar faces like Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy, men who should be thanked for their tireless efforts and for leading the franchise to places it had never previously been. They have been replaced by fresh faces promising a systematic, analytical approach to assembling the team. Hennigan bares the footprints of two successful small-market franchises, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, and his pedigree is unquestioned. And if the past is merely prelude to the present, then Magic fans should hope that this is simply the end of the franchise’s beginning, that Hennigan and company will lead the franchise to places never before seen, specifically hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

It’s easy to harp on past mistakes, to curse missed opportunities and to look to the future with a cynical eye. But the beauty of sport, the reason we consume sports media and buy tickets and wear jerseys, is hope. The hope of a title for Rich DeVos, a parade down Church Street, the shortest trip to Disney World any champion has ever taken. That hope is what binds us, it’s what makes you and I the same as Anthony Davis or Thomas Robinson. Rob Hennigan and the eventual head coach will represent change in Central Florida. But the most important thing they represent is hope.