Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Fan Experience

Earlier in the season the Magic held a contest in which the winner won the opportunity to sit next to the Magic radio broadcasters during a game. The winner, Brian, wrote the following about his experience:

Hey guys, cool blog, I enjoy reading it.

Anyways, I was asked to write a little blog about my recent courtside experience with Dennis and Richie. Long story short, I won a courtside seat for the Magic/Nets game on 3/6/2009, and got to sit next to Dennis Neumann and Richie Adubato for the entire radio broadcast.

It was quite an experience... I never realized quite how frantic the radio broadcasts are. Behind the scenes, there are people yelling facts about the game (Magic on a 10-0 run, Turk has scored the last 8 points for the Magic, etc.), through the microphones, which Dennis has to absorb and then spit back whenever he gets a spare second.

During every timeout, someone (presumably from the Magic's front office) runs an updated stat sheet out to the guys.. and they were kind enough to print one out for me each time. So I have a huge stack of papers saved in a file folder, including a media guide for the Nets, and about 20 stat sheets.

Dennis Neumann was probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He was sincerely interested in speaking with me, and dropped my name on air several times over the course of the game. Richie was... just as you would expect Richie to be. Funny, but at the same time, extremely knowledgeable. It was quite an honor to get to talk X's and O's with him (as I am quite a basketball buff myself)

At the end of halftime, I got the opportunity to go live on the air to ask Richie a question, which he answered without hesitation (note that they did not ask me what my question was going to be prior to me going live on the air.. I guess they trusted me!!! Haha)

Also, right before the 3rd quarter started, Dwight Howard came over, as Richie wanted to give him a word of advice on guarding Brook Lopez. Dwight noticed me there, and I got to shake his hand. He's an absolute monster.

The game went down to the wire, but thankfully Orlando won... from where we were sitting, Vince Carter's last second 3 looked like it was going to fall straight in after clanging off the back of the rim, but thankfully, it fell harmlessly to the ground.

Afterwards, I shook hands with the guys, and some friends that took my season tickets (since I was courtside!) came down to visit. Dennis and Richie shook their hands, and spoke with them as well.

I got them to sign my press pass, which I now have proudly hanging in my office.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Dante (who is also on the radio) kindly escorted me to my seat before the game, and everyone really tried to make me feel comfortable.

I'm only 23, but I've literally been a Magic fan since I was 3 years old. This is an experience that I will never forget.


  1. Excellent story. Very classy how the Magic organization handled the experience, and made it as enjoyable as it could be.

  2. Great to hear about your experience, I love listening to Richie Adubato's analysis. The guy not only know's the game inside and out but he be very funny as well.

  3. Great to hear your experience went so well and we appreciate you sharing it with us!

  4. Great story.
    Richie & Neu both seem like awesome guys.
    Thank you for sharing!

    I'm 20 years old, and my father has had season tickets since the beginning, so I've been going to games since I was 1.
    As a matter of fact, the first preseason game ever was right around my 1st birthday.
    Sooooo many memories...

    From non-Magic players: Meeting all the former UF players. How nice David Lee & Al Horford are. How great both D-Wade & Zo are off the court. How AI isn't really a bad guy, at least not when you meet him in person.
    How I'm standing right next to Tony Parker this past December, as he came into the first row of seats courtside to talk to people before the game. (I don't actually sit there, but as anyone can attest to, you are allowed to go down near the court to watch pre-game shoot-arounds once they open the gates). How I proceed to watch as little children in Spurs jerseys, some as young as 4 or 5 years of age, try to get Tony's attention to simply ask for a picture, and how Tony completely ignores them, instead talking to about 5 people or so in French for quite awhile (probably spend a few minutes with each of them), before going into the locker room, not paying any attention to the kids. And how at that same time, Tim Duncan comes into press row, signing autographs for everyone and taking pics with whoever wanted one.

    Magic memories: Of course all the games. Too many to even begin to talk about.
    But most of all, Magic memories off the court, or rather some off it and some during pregame warm-ups.
    I'm sure I have plenty from the early/mid 90s, but I was too young to remember those, so I'll start off with the heart and hustle team and my favorite player ever, Flash Armstrong.
    Memories of how when we finally found out about the "Meet the Magic" season ticket holder signing party, we go to RDV sportsplex (this is t-mac's first year with the team) and upon getting there find out about the "1 autograph per person rule". The players didn't really give a damn about the rule, but the staff certainly did. I still remember how as I walk up to Darrell, people hold out photos for him to sign, so he does so. Then Darrell will look up, and if the person is wearing an Armstrong jersey or shirt, he'll say "Wait! Let me sign that for you, too! And is that a camera in your hand? Let's get a picture together!" Despite the staff's pleas to limit it to 1 per person.

    Same with Mike Miller his rookie year. He looked at me with a Gator jersey and a Gator hat, looked around, said "Well the Magic staff are the 1's who enforce the rule, and seeing as they're not here right now, I'll sign both."
    And remembering how in Grant Hill's first year, I got up to his table at the signing party and the magic staff were looking away. I'm 12 years old at the time, and with it being my 1st signing party, I hold out 2 cards to him. He looks at me and says "Which ONE do you want me to sign?" Seeing as his autograph takes approximately 2 seconds to sign, he could've signed 2 each for 3 people in the time it took him to say that. I can definitely understand him doing that if it's a 30 year old man handing him the things, but come on, I was TWELVE. And with how small I was, I looked ten.

    Then there's all the more recent memories, memories of interacting with Hedo and Adonal before games, and how amazing a man Mr. Foyle is.

    Yes, I've been a Magic fan my whole life, but honestly I can say how amazing the entire organization is OFF the court is as big a reason as to why I'll always be a fan as any.


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