Today, Andrea Adelson wrote an excellent article about the Orlando Magic fans and ponders whether or not the overwhelming support for the team - visible around the city and at the Amway Arena during the postseason - will continue next season.
Here's a few choice excerpts from the piece:
One angry reader, Nichole Bryant, e-mailed me after that Game 5 loss to the Lakers in the Finals, saying, "I am appalled at some of the Magic fans who were in the Arena. I don't care if the Magic were down 100-1, all those fans should have been cheering and rooting their team on for the whole 48+ minutes."
You don't want to be known as a bunch of bandwagon fair-weather fans ready to jump off at the first sign of trouble, do you? You want to be known as some of the best fans in the NBA.
Can you sustain the excitement and the passion and the interest for your team for more than a few playoff games?
That is your challenge headed into next season. Do you accept?
"They know they have something to look forward to," Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. "It's not a question in anybody's head. Previous years going into the season people were like, 'Well, maybe last year was a fluke.' We're a good team, and we deserve some respect and I think we gained just a little bit."
"We have to keep the momentum going," Martins said. "We have to make sure that we continue to be out in the community, keep the brand strong, keep the brand out in the forefront during the course of the summer and then as we build into next season. We as an organization will not make this a flash in the pan."
Of course, the Magic have a duty to put a competitive team on the court. Loyalty is a two-way street, and the Magic appear committed to keeping this team together, indicating they might go over the salary cap to keep Hedo Turkoglu.
[...] listen to fan Stephen Kerkhoff, 21, who has been a Magic fan his whole life.
When asked about whether the fan momentum can be sustained, he said: "The biggest thing is re-signing Hedo Turkoglu," he said. "He's such a fan favorite now, even more than Rashard Lewis and probably just as much as Dwight Howard because he's so recognizable. If they don't re-sign him, that's going to be a huge hit for the fan base."
What does the community think? Will the support sustain itself next season?