Magic employees serve Thanksgiving meal to the homeless

Clad in white Magic Volunteer Program T-shirts, employees of the Orlando Magic assembled outside the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida around 7:30 on Thanksgiving morning.

Over the next few hours, they helped serve a holiday meal to about 700 people.


"Although we would much rather not have to be here because we've abolished homelessness, we need to take care of those that hopefully are temporarily homeless," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "This is one of the small ways that we contribute to those who are dealing with homelessness."

Martins received some help serving meals Thursday morning from his two daughters, 12-year-old Sophia and 10-year-old Gabrielle.


Jim Fritz, the Magic's chief financial officer who also serves on the Coalition's board of directors, was joined by his 17-year-old son Zachary and 15-year-old daughter Nikki.

Jim Fritz buses tables during the event year to year.

"We feel like this is our opportunity just to help all those in need," Fritz said.

Magic officials said approximately 100 to 125 team employees helped out at Thursday's event — mostly employees whom fans see on game nights at Amway Center.

The group included players D.J. Augustin, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, Arinze Onuaku, Elfrid Payton, Damjan Rudez, Nikola Vucevic, C.J. Watson, C.J. Wilcox and Stephen Zimmerman.

General manager Rob Hennigan, coach Frank Vogel and franchise co-founder Pat Williams also participated.

Key stretch

Wednesday night's 92-87 loss to the Phoenix Suns stung the Magic, who still hope to make the most of their three-game homestand.


The homestand will continue Friday night against the Washington Wizards and will conclude Sunday night versus the Milwaukee Bucks.

It sounds like a broken record, but facts are facts: Scoring points is the Magic's chief concern.

The team ranks last in the NBA in field-goal percentage and last in points scored per possession.

The loss to the Suns underscored the Magic's problems. Orlando made just 36 percent of its shots from the field and went 14 for 23 from the free-throw line.

"We've got to figure out a way to correct things and get better," Green said after the defeat. "It's November, but these wins and losses do count. This ain't the old Eastern Conference where there's going to be five [good] teams and the rest [follow behind]. It's getting tough. . . .

"We've got to go back to the drawing board and have a good Thanksgiving . . . but Friday, we've got to fix it. For me, that's a must-win. We must win Friday. Then we must win Sunday."


Looking for a spark

With the Magic searching for offense against the Suns, Vogel started the fourth quarter by inserting swingman Mario Hezonja into the game.

Hezonja hadn't played that night and hadn't played in five of Orlando's previous six games.

When Vogel informed Hezonja that he'd be out of the rotation temporarily, Vogel told Hezonja he might be called on at a moment's notice if the team needed a spark during a game.

Hezonja wound up playing four minutes against Phoenix. He went 0 for 1 from the field and 1 for 2 from the free-throw line.

Defense, Vucevic improve


As distasteful the loss to the Suns was for Magic players, even they noted the loss had two positives. The defense performed well enough to win, and Vucevic snapped out of his maddening slump, scoring 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

"It feels good to see Vooch like that, being himself," swingman Evan Fournier said. "I thought the last six or seven plays at the end of the game we had a good connection again. We definitely need more of that." Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.