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Jeff Van Gundy questions if Magic fans should stay loyal

Aug 14, 2012, 1:59 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Is it really worth it?

Every fan of a team has asked themselves that at some point. Is the emotional commitment worth the payoff? Are there better things I could be doing with my time and money?

Usually we come back around to yes on that question, because the ties to the team are not just about the sport or the uniform or the players. The real ties to our teams are social connections — who we watch games with (family and friends), where we live, where we went to college — that come with rooting for a team.

But Jeff Van Gundy wonders if Magic fans should reach that conclusion. He was on ESPN Radio in New York and wondered if they would think it’s worth it (via Sports Radio Interviews and Ball Don’t Lie).

“I think long-term if you’re an Orlando Magic fan today is a day where you have to ask yourself is it worth it? Because we’ve had three stars in our time, in Orlando, we had Shaquille O’Neal who went free agency and left. We had Tracy McGrady and he forced his way out and I was the beneficiary of that. Then third you had Dwight Howard who forced his way out. You have to ask yourself, is it worth it? Because even if we get the guys are we going to be able to keep the guys? So much is being made of draft picks. Those draft picks are great if, like Oklahoma City, you have the ability to have the second, third and fourth pick in the draft and get (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook, (James) Harden and (Serge) Ibaka. You’ve got to get those picks and then you have to draft the right guys and they’ve got to come together like those guys have and then you have to be able to retain them like Oklahoma City has but Orlando, when they have gotten their best players, whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out and I really, really feel for their fan base. It’s a sad day for the Orlando Magic fan base.”

It is a sad time for Magic fans. And we can debate if the Magic could have gotten a better package for Howard but the fact is the package still would not have been anywhere near equal value. The Magic were going to come out of this situation much worse than they went in. It was going to feel familiar to long-time Orlando fans.

Eventually, when they start winning again, the Magic fans will come back around. But if you know you are going to stink for the next few years to build your team, it’s hard to be motivated as a fan.

  1. mendenhallfumblemachine - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Same goes for the Raptors, T-Mac was there first, VC of course, Bosh, even Damon Stoudamire. Believe me, the Magic aren’t alone.

  2. drunkenjunk - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    let’s not forget that if Hill could of stayed healthy things would of been a lot different. He wanted to go their as a free agent before the sign and trade.

  3. raidmagic - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I was a fan when they sucked to start with and was a fan when they were good. The true fans will still route for the Magic, buy tickets and buy their gear. I for one am happy now, I vowed to quit wearing Magic gear until the Howard crap was resolved so it was nice to put on a Magic shirt the other day and even more fun to be asked “hey didn’t yall just trade Dwight?”

    • jon623 - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      In one paragraph, you said that you have supported them always, then (in quite a contradictory way) stated that you “vowed to stop wearing Magic gear until the Howard crap was resolved…” You singlehandedly showed that often times, fans can change their tune based on a situation surrounding one player.

  4. stoutfiles - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    It’s really a question for every small market team. Should you keep spending money following a team that will lose its star players once they’re elgible to leave? What’s worse is when they leave, you get little to nothing back.

    The big market teams rule the NBA. If small market fans would revolt and stop supporting the NBA, maybe things would change. So far, being allowed to pay your players more money isn’t working since the stars make the majority of their money off the court.

    OKC is a huge outlier. Basically all their draft picks worked out for them. Had they not…had Portland picked Durant instead of Oden, OKC would be exactly like all the other small market teams.

    • drunkenjunk - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      San Antonio

      • scalfor3 - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        tim duncan

      • eventhorizon04 - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:05 PM

        Spurs are nothing if they don’t tank to get Tim Duncan to match with David Robinson

      • money2long - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        the article stated van gundy said, yea, draft well, but be able to do it consecutively. the spurs did it with getting tony and gino after d.rob retired.

  5. ch8878 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Shaquille O’Neal won a championship after leaving and Tracy McGrady was never the same player after leaving and hasn’t yet won a championship.

    Howard we will see how he plays out in LA this year and were ever he goes next year (Maybe Dallas).

  6. gaykegayden - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Uh, McGrady never lead the league in scoring again(the Magic were the worst team in the league that year so who cares?) but he was the go to guy during the Rockets playoff runs in Yao’s younger years. They were up 2-0 on Dallas before the Donaghy shadiness.

    Gayke Gayden

  7. thestudiokida - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    At least the Magic have signed a few big free agents. The Bobcats have never signed a free agent of any value. We got Gerald Wallace through the expansion draft and traded for Captain Jack.

  8. birdsflynorth206 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Has McGrady even been out the 1st round of the playoffs yet?

  9. nard100 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Am I the only person that wonders if Jeff has a little bias against the team that fired his brother?

  10. cantonbound13 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    They could become bandwagon jumpers like Heat fans & root for the Lakers.

    • heat256 - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      It must SUCK as a Knicks fan that you guys have only Kidd as the offseason signing to be excited about. Enjoy the 8th seed and 1st round boot yet again.

      • cantonbound13 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        I remember hearing Heat fans getting excited about possibly solving their big hole at center with the addition of Marcus Camby. Oh wait, he signed with the Knicks.
        Enjoy your 1 questionable title in the lockout shortened season because there is no way your beating LA.

      • heat256 - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        Hold on, I’m not done laughing at your AWESOME comeback of bragging about your Camby signing. A 38 year old who signed for 3 years and $13 million!!! HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!!! Know why MIA didn’t sign him? Cuz he wasn’t WORTH that much!!!! But dumbass Knicks do what they do best: Make dumb personnel moves that get rubes like you excited about their upcoming season only to be let down at the end of it. Those expectations most likely describe any woman unfortunate enough to sleep with you as well.

        Oh, by the way, sparky, the whole “lockout title” stuff is ESPECIALLY dumb coming from a Knicks fan since the last lockout back in ’99 the mighty Knicks went to the Finals and got beat by the Spurs. My God, you can’t even insult a team without it boomeranging back around to that elephant turd called the Knicks. Also, MIA handled both LA and ORL quite well the last two seasons. Look it up, if you’re able to.

      • therealhtj - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:17 PM

        So the Lakers are now the official team of Cleveland?

  11. gaykegayden - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Technically, yes. Injured/DNP in 2009 series win over Portland- Gayke Gayden

  12. hokiegajanisgod - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I agree with Van Gundy 100%…that trade was unforgivable considering the potential trades they passed on before.

    Best of luck building your team around Big Baby and Jameer…

  13. knightrider1755 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Jeff is obviously upset with the way the Magic organization treated his brother Stan and rightfully so and he makes some good points but at the end of the day, it’s really up to the fans to decide whether they will continue to support their teams and why. It has nothing to do with consistently poor decisions made by owners or lousy draft choices or whether a player stays with their team or not. If that were the case, most sports teams would lose their fanbases overnight. When it comes to fans, team loyalty more often than not, hinges on geography and family tradition.

    • heat256 - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      I think fans would be ok with rebuilding as long as they did it smartly, like OKC. I don’t know if they could have gotten a better package of picks for Howard or not, but they will be lucky to get mid 1-st round picks and you can’t build that way. They are going to really have to hit bottom and try and get a top 5 pick if they can and start fresh. You can’t do a half-assed rebuild. I know the sports are totally different, but I think of the Dolphins who have been consistently mediocre for a decade and a half. Not good enough to advance in the playoffs and not bad enough for 2-3 years of top of round draft picks. And look where it’s getting them: a fanbase that is tired of getting their hopes up year after year and ending up dejected.

  14. burgundyandgold - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    There really should not be professional sports in Florida. No one cares.

  15. timb12 - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Be a “true” fan and support the Magic for throwing that below average team on the court. I understand that you need to look at the bigger picture, and maybe in a few years they’ll get some good draft picks, but why would you support a team that, as far as I can tell, is tanking?

  16. charlutes - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Boo hoo, this has happened to the Raptors like 20 times. Carter, McGrady, Camby, Stoudamire, Bosh…Stop crying Orlando and just do what we do: Only draft European players and overpay anyone from North America who is willing to stay.

  17. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Fans of just about every NBA team should be asking themselves the same question, is it worth it? This has become an issue for the NBA, because there are only about three or four teams in the whole league that have a realistic shot at winning a championship.

    Everybody else is just lingering with no chance to sign the big time free agents, and hoping they can get lucky in the draft lottery. Otherwise, there’s nothing to look forward to unless you cheer for Miami, L.A., OKC, or maybe the Spurs or Brooklyn. These other teams probably have better odds of winning the lottery than they do a championship.

  18. fanz928 - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    It just injuries and too much mistakes by management

  19. magicbucs - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Are there any real fans left? I’ve been a magic fan since ’89. Great, good and awful years. I’ll continue to be a magic fan til the day I die no matter how good or how bad. Yes Jeff it’s worth it. Unlike a lot of players and a lot of band wagoners, I’m loyal to my teams.

  20. jagwar73 - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Yearly franchise tag!!!

  21. scalfor3 - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    man the magic have a tough situation. if only they had a great coach to help guide them through this rebuilding process

    oh wait

  22. powerpc20 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    @cantonbound13 ok then, so if this year’s Heat’s title is “questionable” bc of the lockout, the Knicks’ ’99 ECF title and Finals appearance is as well then, right? And we don’t have to mention 1994 since Jordan was off in Alabama playing baseball, right? So that would mean the Knicks have ZERO legitimate conference titles/Finals appearances since 1973.

    I admire your loyalty!! LOL.

  23. proballerslounge - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Dwight Howard post i the link above.

  24. raysfan1 - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Who’s Jeff Van Gundy’s brother? What did Orlando do to his brother? Could that possibly affect his viewpoint?

  25. bleed4philly - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    The Seattle Magic?!

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