Isaac and Gordon Honored for Their Commitment to Youth

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Following Magic practices and shootarounds, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac often remain on the court and work on their outside shooting. They usually partner up on the same basket and take countless 3-point shots from each spot around the perimeter.

First one of them shoots, then the other and they keep rotating until the drill is complete, or simply until they’ve made enough threes for the day. The hard work is clearly paying off for both of them, as they have combined to make 168 triples so far this season.

During the shooting drill, the two encourage and energize each other, similar to the way they cheer on children whenever they step out into the community and lend a helping hand.

It's not long ago that Gordon, 23, and Isaac, 21, were in the same shoes as the kids they meet at these events. It’s an honor for them, they both say, to help youth stay on the right track and teach them about the importance of perseverance, hard work, and dedication.

The impact the two Magic forwards have already made on children is striking, so much so that they were recognized for their benevolence and allegiance to the Central Florida community.

Gordon and Isaac were named co-winners of the 2018-19 Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award, announced Saturday during the inaugural Orlando Wine Festival and Auction benefitting the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.

“To carry on the legacy of our parents, the family is honored to continue the tradition for the 24th season of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment award,” said Magic Chairman Dan DeVos. “We congratulate Jonathan and Aaron as this year’s co-winners and look forward to the Magic’s continued commitment to the Central Florida community.”

Although both are extremely appreciative to be recognized for their contributions, it’s the smiles on the children’s faces and the guidance they provide to the kids that brings them the most joy.

“I think that's the most important part about it," Gordon said. "It’s not about the award, it’s about everything that has gone (into the community). It's like the action that brings you to that."

“Now that you get this award, it doesn’t stop, never stops,” he added. “There are always going to be people that need help and kids that have a lot of potential that just need to be nurtured and cared for and believed in, and that's going to continue to happen through OMYF and through CodeOrlando.”

Gordon and Isaac, who in addition to the award were granted $25,000 each from the DeVos Family Foundations to donate to charities of their choice, have lifted the spirits of many children while participating in various community activities throughout this season.

Gordon’s community involvement included: Teaming up with Amway to sponsor a Thanksgiving meal distribution, taking kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs on a holiday shopping spree, introducing his CodeOrlando program, which teaches underserved communities about computer science, robotics and artificial intelligence through creative technology projects, participating in the Magic’s OMYF Open Golf Tournament, and partnering with military members for a commitment to service project during Hoops for Troops Week.

Isaac, meanwhile, helped raise money to fight literacy in the area, met an AdventHealth for Children patient and welcomed her as an honorary member of the Magic team, donated to the Share the Magic ticket program, and took youth from the Valencia Horizon Scholars program on a tour of the Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery, where they learned about African American history.

“Whenever you can at the end of the day put a smile on somebody else’s face or help somebody else in any other way, it’s a blessing,” said Isaac, who like Gordon joined Nick Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Darrell Armstrong, Grant Hill, Monty Williams, Tracy McGrady, Pat Garrity, Bo Outlaw, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton and Arron Afflalo as the franchise’s all-time winners of the community enrichment award. “I know I’ve been extremely blessed in my life from other people and I just want to reciprocate that and make somebody else feel good. It’s always great.”

Gordon and Isaac are the third duo in team history to be named co-winners of the award. Howard and Redick shared the honor in 2011-12 and Harris and Oladipo did the same in 2015-16.

"The Orlando Magic are so proud that our players recognize the values of our great ownership group, the DeVos family," said Magic CEO Alex Martins. "It is through the DeVos family’s leadership and their core value of giving back that the foundation of our entire team - staff, coaches and players - is built. We are incredibly proud of all of our players' off-the-court efforts and want to congratulate both Aaron and Jonathan on the impact that they have made on the Central Florida community."

Over the last 29 years, more than $24 million has been distributed to local nonprofit organizations through OMYF, which is committed to helping youth realize their full potential. Earlier this year, the OMYF presented checks totaling $1.2 million to 16 different organizations.

The Magic and the DeVos family are committed to making a big impact on Central Florida, which is why they give more than $2 million each year to the community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, and grants.

Both incredibly proud and grateful to be part of an organization who cares so much about inspiring children, Gordon and Isaac are on a mission to be the best role models they can possibly be and share with youth the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years.

“I think about myself and I think about when I was a kid and what my mindset was going forward with the situation and the circumstances that I was in and I would just say to work hard,” Isaac said when asked what his No. 1 piece of advice is for kids. “Find what you love and it gets better. Work hard at what you want to do and I think that’s one of the biggest things that I have seen from myself as a kid. Just having fun and working hard and seeing yourself accomplish things that you didn’t think you ever could. I would definitely say the mindset to work hard and the drive to do what you want to do and get it done, it’s very fulfilling.”

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