Storyline: Rich DeVos Death

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ORLANDOMAGIC.COM: You got to know Mr. DeVos quite well during your first stint with the Magic and you briefly met with him again before you took the job this time around. What are some of your fondest memories of your interactions with him? STEVE CLIFFORD: “It was a very difficult day when we lost him. As much as anything, like most of us, I was always a big fan of his. More than anything, it was always about how supportive he was for the team. I’ve read all of his books and I loved his message of perseverance, discipline in life and positivity is one I’ll always remember. “Two things I’ll always remember about Mr. DeVos was how much we’d always enjoy him stopping in before the games and saying `hi’ and something positive to everyone. Then, every year before the season, we’d fly down to West Palm to visit with him and he’d sit everybody down and give us a message that our players and staff all enjoyed.’’

Baumann: One of the great things about Rich DeVos was his work in the community. This (youth camp) is just another fruit of his labor as well, right Aaron? What can you say about the passing of Rich DeVos this week? Aaron Gordon: It’s sad man. It’s a huge hit to this organization. He was always super encouraging. Always proud of us. He was one of my biggest fans. He had plenty of advice to share with the team. Plenty of antidotes. Hopefully we can get something going for him.

Just as they had done numerous times before, past and present NBA players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Jameer Nelson and others, reached out to Magic CEO Alex Martins concerning Mr. DeVos. On Thursday, several contacted Martins and Magic leaders to pass along their condolences and fond memories about a man they considered to be, “the best owner in the NBA.’’ “You’d be amazed at how many players and former players I’ve already heard from today, including Shaq and Jameer and several others,’’ said Martins after announcing that DeVos – the Magic’s owner since 1991 – had died at his home in Ada, Mich.

In that respect, the Magic captured two Eastern Conference crowns, five division titles and won at least 50 games seven times during DeVos’ ownership. Twice, the Magic came close to winning a championship for Central Florida, losing in the NBA Finals in heartbreaking fashion in 1995 and 2009. Martins said being unable to secure a championship for DeVos will always be one of his greatest disappointments professionally. “My biggest regret today is that we didn’t bring him an NBA championship,’’ said the Magic CEO, who had known and worked with DeVos for the past 27 years. “We’ve said for years that we’ve got to get this done before he left us and that is the unfinished business, unfortunately. He wanted (an NBA championship) badly, but it’s not like he walked around saying it to everyone, `I’ve got to get an NBA championship; I want a NBA championship.’ You knew it from his actions and you knew it from the resources that he brought to the organization and you knew it from the way that he encouraged everyone.’’

Despite being confined to a wheelchair much of the past two years, he attended approximately 20 home games while rooting on the team from his customary seat along the baseline near the Magic bench. Before and after games, he’d show his support to the team’s players and coaches in the best way he knew how – through genuine, heart-felt words of encouragement. “He was in that locker room every night that he was here in the building. And he’d go around to every single player in that locker room – before and after the game – encouraging them before the game and shaking their hands afterwards even after a loss and telling them, `That’s OK, you gave it your best,’’’ Martins recalled. “That’s what who he was. He did want to win a championship and we wanted to win a championship for him. I’d say my biggest regret today is that we didn’t win a championship before he left us.’’
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August 23, 2019 | 5:11 am EDT Update
As he spoke and the speaker above cut in and out, Gilgeous-Alexander balanced between a player who knows he belongs and one who understands he has plenty to learn. “I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said with no malice. “I do not have the same name, same body type, stuff like that. So, I’m just going to try to be myself and be the best me and everything else will take care of itself. “I’m just a basketball player. Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game. I know that eventually it will come out. I don’t worry about starting. I’m not worried about accolades or things like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and (stay) true to who I am.”
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal…I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I’m here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy.” Walker is arguably the best player on the team, so it’s no surprise that he’s a captain. Mitchell being named a captain isn’t a shock either, when you consider how he came in as a rookie and showed tremendous ability as a leader with the Jazz and has continued to build off that success.
Storyline: World Cup
Germany will play against Tunisia and Japan in Saitama near Tokyo on August 23rd and 24th respectively. On August 26, the squad will head to Shenzhen, China where the World Cup group phase will be played. The 13 players currently in Japan for the German NT are: Dennis Schroder, Maodo Lo, Ismet Akpinar, Isaac Bonga, Andreas Obst, Robin Benzing, Paul Zipser, Niels Giffey, Johannes Thiemann, Danilo Barthell, Maximilian Kleber, Daniel Theis, Johannes Voigtmann.
What’s your next move? Brett Yormark: I’m not going to announce it yet. I knew there was going to be an end to one chapter and the beginning of another. Ownership effectively told me last spring that (selling the majority share to Joe Tsai) was something they were contemplating. I extended my deal through December to provide oversight of the transaction. There was always a plan to leave with ownership. I’ve become very close to Mikhail Prokhorov and (board chairman) Dmitry Razumov. It would have been very tough for me to leave the company, knowing that ownership was going to stay on board. My goal is to announce where I’m heading in mid-September, assuming everything works out. I’m going to stay in sports and entertainment and look forward to build something and create value. It’s no different than what I did at NASCAR and BSE.