It was a really good weekend here with the Magic beating OKC on Friday night and whipping Charlotte on Sunday. We shared the ball really well and played hard like a team. When I got kind of hot after the Sacramento loss earlier in the week it was because we weren´t playing hard and bringing intensity. Well, we did that these last two games and it´s about us doing it on a consistent basis now.
We have the talent to do great things this season, but only if we really apply ourselves and bring everything we´ve got every night. That´s the message that my parents used to tell me when I was growing up and it´s still true today.
I want to tell you guys today about a couple of cool things that I got to do before the game on Sunday. First, I got to meet J-Lon Woody, a 10-year-old kid who lives in upstate New York. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple of years ago and he´s been fighting really hard and is such a sweet kid. The meet-and-greet was a part of the Make-A-Wish program and J-Lon´s wish was to meet me and watch the Magic play.
That just amazes me that of all the athletes and famous people in the world that he picked me. That just shows me the impact that us athletes can have sometimes and it makes me go even harder out there on the court knowing that kids are watching me and looking up to me.
It´s fun interacting with the kids and seeing them smile. J-Lon was asking questions about life and we talked about how he was doing in school. He really wanted to learn more about me; he had a big list of questions that he wanted to ask. I told him that he had more questions than the reporters after the games. We spent a few minutes together as I signed a Magic basketball for him. He´s such a nice kid. I told J-Lon that I actually look up to him instead of it being the other way around because of how he´s a fighter and a believer. He really inspired me.
Then, a few minutes later after my pregame workout, I got to visit with Cindy Cook and Kenneth Bentley, who used to live down in Palm Beach County but they stay up in Orlando now. They were the victims of an assault when a dude threw some kind of acid on them and burned their faces and bodies really bad. It´s amazing to me that someone could do such a thing to another human being.
Kenneth is 15 years old and a great kid. Even though he grew up in South Florida, he´s a huge Magic fan!!! I like that!!! Kenneth is tall and is apparently a pretty good basketball player and told me that he dreams of playing in the NBA someday. I guess he´s coming after my job!!!
He saw his first Magic game back on Christmas Day when we beat the Celtics and he told me that it´s always been his dream to dunk like me. I´m glad I was able to get a few dunks in the game on Sunday night for Kenneth.
It´s great being a part of a kid´s life like that. Being with Kenneth and learning about him and talking about all of the stuff that he´s endured is amazing.
A couple of the things that I told him was that if he wants to be an NBA player he´s going to have to do well in school and keep his grades up. He has to be a great student before he can be a great athlete. And I also told him to be a great son to his mom and a great friend to his friends. I told him if he wants to be a great basketball player, he has to learn to never settle for just being OK and continue working towards being the best.
And here´s the best part of all. He told me that he tried hard in school and that he was going to try even harder now. Hearing things like that makes me happy. Hopefully I´ll have an impact on his life the way he has impacted me.
Well, I´m going to get out of here. We have a really tough stretch coming up against New York, Miami and Chicago so this will give us kind of an indication of what kind of team we´re going to be. The New York game will be interesting with Melo and Chauncey in there now because they make NY a tougher team to stop. And we owe Miami and Chicago because they got us the last time we played them. So let´s hope that we really bring it and go 3-0 against these tough teams that we could very well see in the playoffs.
Everybody out there take care. Yuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!