Augustin, Mozgov Help Kids Stay Fit

Magic culminate exercise program with MAGIC Fit Fun Day
by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - The average NBA career length for players is just under five years, briefer than most people realize. The players who last in the league longer do a great job staying fit by eating well and pushing themselves in the gym.

D.J. Augustin, now in his 11th NBA season, realized early on in his career that taking care of his body all year is critical for long-term success.

All that hard work – on the court, in the weight room and in the kitchen – from the moment he was drafted in 2008 to now as a key cog on a Magic team hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012 is paying off.

The 31-year-old, who is currently shooting a career-high field goal percentage and is among the league leaders in 3-point percentage, is having one of the best seasons of his career.

Augustin hopes his tireless work ethic and dedication to his craft will serve as an inspiration for children who are just starting to learn about the importance of fitness.

He was able to convey that message on Thursday at Freedom Middle School, the site of this year’s MAGIC Fit Fun Day, the culmination of the four-week incentive-based exercise program for children created by the Magic's strength and conditioning staff in 2014.

“It’s very important (to stay fit),” Augustin said. “It’s helped me in my career. It’s been 11 years and those have been the most important things to me outside of working on my game -- eating healthy and taking care of my body. It also works off the court as well for people who are not athletes, just doing the right thing and taking care of your body. You live longer, have a better life. So, it’s great.”

Even though he hasn’t been able to play this season, Timofey Mozgov says he’s feeling great because he’s eating nutritious food and working hard on his conditioning while recovering from right knee surgery.

“Especially when you are in recovery, you can’t run, you can’t do any exercises, so you have to stay in shape as long as you can and do as much as you can,” said Mozgov, who joined Augustin, Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers and STUFF the Magic Mascot at Thursday’s event. “So, eat right, sleep well. It helps you stay in the league a longer time. It makes you feel better during the day and have more energy. There are a lot of reasons to eat healthy and sleep well.”

Freedom Middle School was one of 34 Central Florida schools to participate in the Magic’s fitness program and one of 15 to complete the challenge, allowing the school to be entered into a random drawing for the grand prize.

That grand prize was having the Magic come to their school and guide the students through various physical fitness challenges and basketball contests.

“Our kids were really excited,” Cheri Leavitt, the principal at Freedom Middle School, said when asked what the students’ reaction was when they first found out they won the competition.

“They know that physical fitness is not a one-time thing, it’s not a two-time thing, it really is ongoing,” she added. “I model that for my students. I run races and after every race I wear my t-shirts and my medals to school along with others on our campus to try to promote that physical fitness. So, we talk to the kids about that.”

Following the NBA FIT guidelines, MAGIC Fit is designed to improve the knowledge at-risk children of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties have about healthy food choices and physical exercise.

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