As the saying goes, there is no rooting in the press box. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit this:

J.J. Redick is my favorite Orlando Magic player.

We have bonded in a pain we both share:

Our families have both been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease.

I lost my mom to the insidious monster in 2009. Redick’s wife Chelsea is trying to cope as best she can as her grandmother “Mimi” has reached an advanced state of Alzheimer’s.

Redick’s reaction was admirable: He donated $25,000 to the regional chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to fund programs and services for persons with Alzheimer’s and their families.

J.J. and Chelsea presented Chelsea’s mom Robin with the check on Christmas Day.

“It really does affect everyone around the person,” Redick told me after the Magic lost to Chicago Wednesday night. “It’s a struggle for all the families that have to deal with it on daily basis. I’ve witnessed that first-hand.

“Chelsea and her grandmother have been friends for 27 years and are extremely close. It’s tough on Chelsea and it’s tough on Robin.”

It’s tough on everyone. Unfortunately I know from first-hand experience. I spent the worst night of my life a few years ago at my mother’s bedside, crying and telling her it was OK to die. I didn’t want her to suffer any more. Three days later, she passed away.

“The anguish of Alzheimer’s is not just experienced by the individuals with the disease; their friends, families and communities suffer right along with them,” said Kay Redington, CEO for the Alzheimer’s Association, Central and North Florida Chapter.  “ Today there are approximately 11 million friends and families – 1.5 million people right here in Florida – who are looking after a loved one with Alzheimer’s and grappling with the enormous challenges this disease places on their well-being, health and jobs. 

"The Redicks’ gift will help us to provide the support these individuals need as they struggle with the staggering implications of either having the disease or caring for someone with the disease.  We are beyond grateful for the generosity shown by this wonderful couple to our organization and others throughout Central Florida.”

Redick, as you may know, truly has a generous spirit.

J.J. and Chelsea recently earmarked the $25,000 of the $50,000 he received as co-winner of the Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award to a nonprofit called Loaves & Fishes, which helps people in need with food and other essentials.

I have no problem cheering from the press box.

I think you should, too, wherever you may be.



George Diaz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @georgediaz