"It's time to move on, time to get going,
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing."
– Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
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We knew Petty grew up in Florida and has written about Orlando in some of his songs, but who knew he was a Magic fan? He has to be, right? Why else could he possibly be singing about moving ahead into a perilous, uncertain future?
"Everybody can sit around and predict how it's all going to turn out, but nobody really knows," team CEO Alex Martins said earlier this week as the Magic prepared for tonight's season opener against the Denver Nuggets.
Martins is, of course, correct. Nobody really has any idea how good or bad the Magic will be over the next few seasons as they try to move on and get past the Dwightmare that has haunted the franchise for the last two seasons.
We have discussed and debated, bisected and trisected the whys and what-fors of Dwight Howard's devastating divorce from Orlando. Fans have gone through several emotional stages – denial, anger and depression to name a few.
But now it is time for acceptance and advancement.
Time to say, good night, Dwight.
Time to start a new day.
And a new way.
I'm here today to give you a pep talk, Magic fans.
I'm here to tell you that it's not as hopeless as it seems.
Yes, Dwight is gone, the Magic are down and there's a lot of gloom and doom surrounding the franchise. I'm not going to sugarcoat it and tell you the Magic are going to amazingly turn into the NBA's version of Hoosiers by upsetting the big-city powerhouses (see Miami and L.A.) on their way to a miraculous NBA title. What I am going to say is this: When the Magic are down; they don't usually stay down long.
It's always amazed me how the Magic are negatively perceived even by some in their own fan base. After corresponding with many fans in recent days, you'd think the Magic were the NBA's version of the Cubs. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Do you know who has the longest active playoff streak in the NBA's Eastern Conference?
The Magic, that's who.
Since the DeVos family purchased the team two decades ago, do you know which team in the Eastern Conference is tied for first in highest winning percentage?
The Magic, that's who.
And in those two decades, do you know who has the Eastern Conference's second-most playoff appearances?