Orlando Magic Get Approval to Buy Land for New Practice Facility

by John Denton

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic took a major step toward landing themselves a new practice facility near the Amway Center on Monday when the Orlando City Council unanimously approved a contract that will allow them to purchase land in downtown Orlando.

The 2.58 acres plot of land, which sits on Central Boulevard at Terry Avenue just northwest of the Amway Center, will be home to the Magic’s new training facility and an orthopedic and community health center. The Magic will join corporate partner, AdventHealth, for the orthopedic and community health center.

The Magic currently practice at the city-owned Amway Center, but are seeking to build a separate training facility that will be approximately 100,000 square feet in size, including the community health center and the surrounding parking lots. The new facility will also house some of the offices for Magic executives and Basketball Operations staff.

Approximately half of the 30 teams in the NBA, including Monday night’s opponent, the Atlanta Hawks, have standalone facilities with which to use as their headquarters and practice facility. The Hawks practice at the 90,000 square foot Atlanta Hawks Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven, Ga., about 15 minutes away from the team’s home arena in downtown Atlanta. Similarly, the Nets opened a training center in 2016 in Brooklyn just three miles from the Barclays Center.

The Magic practiced at the RDV Sportsplex in nearby Maitland from 1998-2010. They moved into the state-of-the-art Amway Center in 2010 and have practiced and played games there for the 10 years.

IN-VINCE-ABLE: Few NBA players have inspired as much awe from foes and fans through the years than Hawks’ guard/forward Vince Carter – both for his gravity-defying dunks and his unheard of longevity in the league.

Carter, a native of nearby Daytona Beach and someone who came to Magic games as a teenager dreaming of someday reaching the NBA, is planning to retire after this, his 22ndNBA season. The 43-year-old Carter, who has played in parts of four decades, appeared in his final NBA game in the Central Florida area on Monday at the Amway Center. The Magic planned to honor Carter during Monday’s first time out with a video tribute of the former dunk champion’s highlights and stories from current players.

``To me, he was the best in-game dunker ever and he had the best slam-dunk contest dunks too, and he kind of changed that (event),’’ said Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who added that the shoe that Carter wears, the Nike Shox BB4, is his favorite basketball shoe ever. ``He’s just a great player overall. Most people remember him for his dunks, but he’s played so great for so many years, and wherever he went … he had a big impact. To be able to sustain that for so long, it was amazing. The dedication and motivation you have to have to play 22 years and being able to take care of your body, is amazing.’’

Carter played for the Magic during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. He was a part of the Orlando team that won 59 regular-season games in 2010, won its first eight playoff games and reached the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Boston Celtics. That season, Carter averaged 16.6 points per game and scored 48 points on Feb. 8, 2010 in a win over New Orleans.

In 97 career games with the Magic, Carter averaged 16.3 points per game.

That timeframe, of course, is just a small sliver of a career for Carter that has spanned 22 seasons parts of the ‘90s, ‘00s, ‘10s and ‘20s. Carter came into Monday’s game averaging 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 47 games for the Hawks. Carter came into Monday having played in 1,528 games and averaged 16.8 points per game over his expansive career.

Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce admitted that he was a bit disappointed that the NBA won’t be honoring Carter at the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in Chicago the same way that it did last season for retiring legends Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki.

``It was brought up, maybe two weeks ago, and I am surprised. I don’t know why they did it last year and I don’t know why they’re not doing it this year,’’ Pierce said. ``Whatever the reasoning for them to do it last year, it made it special – special for the league and a special situation for the All-Star event and what a great way for honoring two legends (in Wade and Nowitzki). We have another legend in our locker room, and I don’t understand why it didn’t happen.

``I know there are a lot of people calling for him to be in the Slam Dunk contest and I was hoping he’d be in the 3-Point Contest. But I do think he deserves to be there for that weekend, and it would be another way of honoring someone who’s done something that no one else in our league has done, which is playing for 22 years and he’s done so at a very high level.’’

UP NEXT: The Magic will play once more before the break for the NBA All-Star Game – Wednesday night at the Amway Center when they face the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit came into Monday as losers of two straight games and having dropped eight of their past 10 games. The Pistons traded former all-star center Andre Drummond to Cleveland just before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday and it has been without all-star power forward Blake Griffin (knee surgery) most of this season.

The Magic and Pistons have played once this season, with Orlando losing 103-88 in Detroit on Nov. 25. That night Orlando led 31-23 after the first period and 55-53 at halftime, but it got dominated in the second half to the tune of 50-33.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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