I have a new enemy, and his name is Billy Donovan. Now, I never was a big Donovan fan in the first place. First of all, he was a pupil of Rick Pitino - who I think is a total wanker. Second, he coaches Florida. And, anyone who knows me knows how I feel about the Gators. Third, he is a really good coach who has assured that cocky and arrogant Gator fans always have both football and basketball to crow about. Stinking Billy.
So, when he was looking at the Orlando Magic job, I was thrilled because it was going to totally stick it to the University of Florida. Their basketball program would have been decimated - losing their top seven scorers AND their coach. Plus, since I am not an idiot, I was thrilled that the Magic was actually going to get such an amazing coach. I tried to think back to when the Magic had a good coach. Hmmmm. Well, there was.... Uh..... Matt Goukas? Phll Daly, but he had no players to coach. That pretty much sums it up. The Magic coaching job has been one joker after another.
Well, that is a good description for being a Magic fan. I never wanted to like the Magic. When I went to college, I was not a basketball fan at all. I loved Michael Jordan and enjoyed him beating the tar out of people. The only team I liked was the Atlanta Hawks - since they were broadcast on TBS Superstation 17 when I was young. I like 'Nique. But I never really was a fan of any team. Then I got to Orlando, and the team was just so darn likeable. And they had these young guys - Shaq and Penny. And I got sucked in. Then they went to the Finals, and got trounced. And I was ready for a year-in, year-out pursuit of that weird trophy.
Then June 1996 happened. I was out at Disney MGM Studios with some of my friends. The Olympic teams were going to go through the park, and we went to see the whole process. Our Shaq was one of those stars. Sure, there had been a bunch of morons in the city who said Shaq wasn't worth the money. And some rumblings had happened that he may bolt for the movies of L.A. But I was sure it would work out. And when his car drove by, with him waving and saying, "Love you Orlando!" Well, we were sure it was all okay.
THAT SAME FREAKING DAY we heard the news that he was about to sign with the Lakers. It ripped your heart out. We lost Shaq - and didn't even get anything for him! How do you lose Shaq? Then Penny lost his dang mind. And then the Magic fell apart for good. Coups in the locker room. Dumb trades. We thought there was some light when we hit free agency back in 2000. We had enough to get Tim Duncan. He bailed on us, but still, we got Grant Hill and some guy named Tracy McGrady who was related to Vince Carter. Then Hill's foot fell off. T-Mac tried to carry the team by himself and then his heart fell out (which conveniently found on the way to Houston).
It has been miserable to be a Magic fan. You don't want to buy a jersey because you are afraid that the player will abandon you. We always seem to get nice guys - but they just get hurt and never play right. Then we luck out and win the draft lottery again and get Dwight Howard. What a freak that guy is (in a good way). Hope reigned. We got some players who are not horrible - and then we bring back Brian Hill as coach. I hoped it would make up for the way he got canned last time. Last year the team started off HOT HOT HOT. It had the best record in the NBA for one day at 20-4. Then the team collapsed. I had gotten tickets for four games for Christmas, and was disgusted by the horrible play.
But hope springs eternal. And somehow, we managed to talk Billy Donovan to come in and teach our team of "not bad players," along with one superhuman one. Sure, I would ordinarily trash Donovan for his abandoning UF just weeks after swearing he wasn't leaving. But I was willing to overlook that. Last Friday it was official, and the little guy came down here. He was all smiles. We were all smiles. Tickets were selling. Players were happy.
Stinking Billy Donovan. So we are stuck now as he tries to break his contract. Florida will obviously welcome him back and probably win the championship in three years. We tried to get Stan Van Gundy, whose main qualification is that he looks like adult movie star Ron Jeremy. But the Miami Heat decided to demand draft picks for him, while they didn't care if he went to Sacramento. So he is going over there. And where are the Magic now?
The look stupid. The local press - who for some unexplainable reason hate the Magic - have launched into full attack mode. How can you blame Orlando? They did everything they could. It was Donovan's lack of commitment, lack of heart, lack of a spine. It was his unbelievable wussiness. So we have no coach, and the prospects floating around now are ridiculous. All the good candidates are gone. We have nobody, no first round draft picks, lots of money to sign free agents - and nothing that would make anyone want to come. So, the hope I had is gone. We'll probably end up signing Chauncey Billups to some massively overblown contract (even though he hasn't done anything in three years), maybe add some other half-heart. Vince Carter will toy with us and then sign with the Lakers. And we'll end up with somebody like PJ Carlesimo as our coach. It's so frustrating I want to give up.
But, man, that Dwight Howard is good....