The first day of training camp after media day— especially for teams that didn’t make the playoffs the prior season, like the Orlando Magic — typically brings a lot of excitement, energy and eagerness to get back on the practice floor after a five-month offseason.
All of those emotions were palpable from Magic players and coaches once reporters were able to watch the Magic’s first practice ahead of the 2022-23 season on Tuesday at their new state-of-the-art AdventHealth Training Center.
But in the backdrop were concerns about what’ll come next in light of Hurricane Ian likely making landfall in Florida between Naples and Tampa late Wednesday.
Chris Newton, the team’s director of security, and Regan Harris, the assistant director of team services, were among Magic personnel who addressed the team about the hurricane once practice ended.
“We just talked about it,” big man Franz Wagner said. “Obviously, I’m nervous because I’ve never experienced anything like this. Just trying to listen to everybody here, what they’re telling us and making sure we have everything at home. Trying to be safe.”
Added Jalen Suggs: “They’re giving us a couple of things, food and water, to take home. Start to charge everything. Gas in the car. Obviously preparing for the worst and keep the mind here and on getting better. If we come in, great. If not, stay safe.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Derrick Weiglich said the Orlando area should prepare for a greater chance of hurricane-force wind gusts.
The Magic had a second practice scheduled for Tuesday evening and a morning and evening practice scheduled for Wednesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, none of the practices had been canceled, but there was a sense that Wednesday’s sessions could be.
“We’re just going to keep monitoring it and see how we go about doing things,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Safety is going to be the first priority for these guys and their families.
“We were just communicating with the guys the things we could be prepared for, what we’ll do for them, just continue to monitor as we track [the storm] and see what we can do for practices and bringing these guys back in.”
Most Magic players haven’t experienced the threat of a hurricane, making the need for education and preparation for the situation even greater.
“We had the Polar Vortex up in Minnesota,” Suggs said. “That’s kind of the craziest thing I got, but nothing like this. Just praying for everybody’s health and safety. I hope everybody gets everything they need, stay safe during this time and understand we’ll get through this.”
Suggs quipped that he brought up the idea of waiting out the hurricane inside the team’s new $70-million, 130,000-square-foot training facility so he could continue to get work in.
“I brought up that suggestion,” Suggs said. “I said I’ll have a lock-in in the facility, but I guess I’ll go home. It’s all right.”