If you haven't noticed, the Orlando Magic began a fan vote Friday to pick "the top moment in Magic history" because this is the team's 25th anniversary. Another reason for the various anniversary celebrations could be to use as a distraction away from this year's record, but that's understandable.
If I was their publicity director, I'd announce Stuff is going to mate with a Disney character and let the fans pick which one. Of course this may be one of many reasons I am not their publicity director.
Back to picking a moment in history. The Magic have offered 25 moments they really like as candidates. You can find short videos of each and vote for your favorite at their website. Of course you can write in for a choice they didn't list ...
Hah hah hah. That's like catnip to an once-a-week columnist who gets e-mails complaining that he never writes about the Magic. Maybe I can help with some of those choice they didn't list. Note: Shaq's departure will not be listed because I have always believed the Magic's relatively low ball first offer and the Orlando Sentinel's poll had little to do with Shaq's decision. Supported by his agent then, he's been thinking about Hollywood even before he was forced to move to Orlando. And good for him.
Now my helpful list of top five moments in Magic history:
• The Dwight-Howard Soap Opera. We don't mention this because Dwight left. Like Shaq, he had his right to move. But what about how insanely it was handled — and how much of that insanity was based on Magic management decisions? Did the team really need to lose its best players and one of the league's best coaches, too? Why did the team stay silent as the media took more and more cheap shots? And when the smoke cleared, how much went exactly as the team planned?
• Hiring 'The Hockey Guy'. John Weisbrod probably is a good hockey guy. He played well at Harvard and currently is the Calgary Flames Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. Then he ran the original Orlando Solar Bears and won the final IHL title before it disbanded after 2001 season. Then he was kept by the Magic organization and promoted to GM after John Gabriel was (probably unjustly) fired. He went on to fire Doc Rivers (whatever happened to him?) to hire Johnny Davis and later took a shot at Chris Jent. Oh, he traded Tracy McGrady and got us Steve Francis. Eventually he resigned, saying he was better suited for hockey. Yes.
• Letting Grant Hill get off the plane using crutches. Of all the great Magic-related photos, this is the one I've never forgotten. They should have put him in a baggage truck and sneaked him out. I don't second-guess the acquisition and it was their $96 million, not mine. But you looked at that photo back then and could only have one response: "Uh oh." But that man sure had great taste in suits.
• Darrell Armstrong can't dunk. Many may not remember one unsolved Magic mystery. In 1996 during the NBA All-Star Weekend, Armstrong was thrown into the dunk contest. On his best early-morning, tippity-toe day, Armstrong stood maybe 6-foot-1. So why was he there? Did six players back out? Anyway. one time he failed to get above the rim and missed a layup. Far as I know, he's never been invited back.
• Where in the world is Fran Vazquez? He was the 11th pick in the 2005 Draft by the Magic. He came here from Spain, smiled at the media and said something in Spanish that sounded like "I want to go home." And we've never seen him since. But at least he wasn't on crutches.
OK, that's my help, but don't forget the Magic have 25 choices on their website that make more sense to them.
Five fabulous football picks
LAST WEEK: Were you there? Did you see it? Glorious! How about 14-2 straight up (132-75-1 for season) and a great 12-3-1 against the spread (100-101-7 for season, so close to .500 again). BTW, this is a bad time to be riding with road warriors but a lot are favored. For example, Miami (almost), Tampa Bay and Jacksonville are home dawgs but can any pull off the upset?
New England (10-3) at Miami (7-6) — No favorite
Who would have expected this to be a tough call at start of the season? But it is. Patriots are baffling and gamblers are bailing. They hardly look like a 10-win team but they have won at least 10 for last 11 years. They don't win Super Bowls anymore but still prey upon rest of AFC Least Division. Dolphins are true to their nature, too — nothing but big teases. BTW, anyone want to explain how losing two linemen in a scandal has made them better?
Jerry says: Pats by 3.
San Francisco (9-4) at Tampa Bay (4-9) — Niners favored by 5
Sorry, Yucs fans, but the intriguing team here is the visitor. Look at the four teams they have lost to — Seattle, Indianapolis, Carolina and New Orleans. In other words, they are not quite good enough. Also, if you have watched QB Colin Kaepernick in the last month, who has he looked like? Yep — Alex Smith. I'll take my hash browns crispy with a heapin' of irony, please. The Yucs? Looks like they may save their coach's job, which tells you just how bright they are.
Jerry says: Niners but just by 3.
Buffalo (4-9) at Jacksonville (4-9) — Bills favored by 2