ORLANDO – Not too long after he was traded to Orlando from Chicago in March 2021, Wendell Carter Jr. learned about the training center his new team, the Magic, was building. He remembers someone telling him where the construction site was, driving by there, and thinking it was pretty cool that he’d have a new facility to practice in eventually.
At the time, there wasn’t too much to look at, as construction was in its early stages. But he figured it would be nice, just like the Amway Center.
Little did he realize, however, that it would be as spectacular as it turned out to be.
Carter got a grand tour of the now officially open AdventHealth Training Center on Wednesday, just moments after Magic, AdventHealth, and city representatives held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 130,000-square-foot facility located on a nearly four-acre site just one block from the Amway Center.
Like a kid right after getting a fancy new toy, he just wanted to spend the rest of the day testing it out.
“I was trying to figure out if I could come here tonight (to get shots up on the new court),” he said with a wide smile. “I was talking to one of the guys and I’m like, ‘can we get in tonight?’ The first day this thing is open (for practice), I know I’ll be in here for a long time – maybe four or five hours.”
Exciting Carter the most is that literally everything he could ever want or need – either before, during, or after his training sessions – is inside, including an Altitude International Holdings training chamber for aerobic capacity and endurance; a sensory deprivation float pod that helps relax the body and mind simultaneously; a full body cryotherapy chamber for recovery; a hydro area; an infrared sauna and steam room; an outdoor lap pool; an outdoor turf space; and nap rooms.
Now that he’s seen all the amenities, he has a feeling the entire team will be spending a lot more time together because he doesn’t think anyone’s going to want to leave after practices are over.
“This is a perfect place to be,” he said. “Just relax, chill, anything you need is here. Food, sleep, massage, work, basketball – it’s hard to really put into words how amazing this place is.”
The origin of the new training center goes back 4 ½ years ago, when Magic CEO Alex Martins and President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman first started having conversations about whether it made sense or not to build a new one in Orlando.
After visiting some of the newer stand-alone ones around the country to get an idea of what they each offered, they concluded that a new one would greatly benefit the Magic’s players.
With the DeVos family committed to the idea, the Magic went ahead with devising what they now firmly believe is the best training facility in all the NBA, and arguably all professional sports.
Already with the advantage of having strong ownership, beautiful weather and no state income tax, the Magic feel this facility will help attract future free agents.
“Clearly, players care about three things,” Martins said. “Obviously, they want to be paid fairly. They want to play for teams that are competing for championships. And they want to know that they are competing and preparing in the best facilities in the league. And I can honestly say having seen them all, this is the best facility in the NBA today…We will utilize it during free agency periods when we are allowed to do so, to bring players in here and show them. As Wendell said, it speaks for itself. You don’t have to say a whole lot. The players know the type of facilities that are around the rest of the league, and they are going to recognize that this is the best.”
Having AdventHealth’s medical services under the same roof, including an imaging center right next to the practice court, is another major competitive advantage, as it will help players recuperate from injuries quicker and reduce the risks of them happening at all.
The Magic now feel they have everything they need to compete at the highest level. There’s a buzz in the community surrounding this team; there’s optimism from within; and the coaches, players and rest of the basketball operations department believe this new training center will give them exactly what they need to perform their very best.
“When you feel the support and the encouragement from the DeVos family, and you see it in front of your eyes, and you’re living it every day, I think we have a bunch of high character players and they are going to know what that means,” Weltman said. “They are going to want to reciprocate. They are going to want to make our team happy, make each other happy, and make our fans happy. It’s a sense of pride and it’s what these guys are about. Honestly, we don’t need this facility to have them feel that sense of pride in themselves and in this team, but this takes everything to a whole new level, and it puts them in a position to get everything they need to succeed.”