A common thread among Magic fans over the past few years has been how the media always disrespects the team, and they believe this for good reason. I can think of no better example than last year's Nike commercials featuring LeBron James and Kobe Bryant puppets. It was a fantastic ad campaign and fun to watch. Unfortunately, its true success hinged on the two superstars meeting each other in the NBA finals. We all know what happened. And Nike, who probably had their best stuff saved up for June, never got to show it.
The sports media moguls are fans, just as we all are. They tend to focus on the historic teams with great pedigrees, like Boston and LA. They love King James because he is a marketing gold mine. In other words, he's interesting. So when you mention LeBron, people listen. They tune in. When you mention Orlando, Florida, people tune out. Or, so they think. And this is a conundrum they, themselves, have created.
Here's a newsflash for the bigwigs who create sports news: you had better start talking up the Orlando Magic. You had better start selling them. If you keep your blinders on and continue to ignore them, you will find yourself writing about a championship team that you never prepared your readers and listeners to appreciate. When they win, you will be forced to talk about them. Do you want to always come off sounding surprised? That isn't expert commentary. No, you will only help yourselves by building the same following for Orlando that you have tried to build for LA, Boston and Cleveland. They're here to stay. Get used to it. Howard is going nowhere for quite a long time, and Orlando has the luxury of continuing to improve the team around him.
Oklahoma City is fun to talk about, but they are a side-show. Timberwolves? Boring. Nike will never make a commercial featuring the Memphis Grizzlies, because the Grizzlies don't sell on the big stage.
And this is my point. The Grizzlies don't need to sell on the big stage, because they're not going to the big stage. The Magic are on the big stage now and their ownership intends for them to stay there.
Some reasons you should consider the Magic:
1. Cleveland has to rest James. Orlando doesn't have to rest anyone. In a 7 game series against the Magic, how will the Cavaliers' one-man show hold up? For the answer, see last year's result.
2. Orlando's offense ranks 8th in the NBA today. They were 11th last year. Their defense rates 2nd in points-per-possession, just behind Boston. Does anyone think Boston is a threat to Orlando in a series? Being old catches up to you quickly.
3. Orlando reached the finals last year and lost 4-1. However, two of those games were decided at the buzzer. But the Magic played without their all-star point-guard and Nelson is now playing at the same caliber that earned him all-star accolades last year.
4. Howard is better today than he was a year ago.
So wake up, NBA people. You don't want to spend all year marketing A and B, only to find yourselves trying to sell C when the customer finally shows up with his money. If you want your audience to tune in to this year's finals, then use your time wisely today telling them why they should want to watch Orlando play.
Look, I'm not saying the Orlando Magic are going to win the NBA Championship this year. I'm just saying you might want to give your audience a reason to tune in this summer, starting today.