OK, so no players from the Magic are at the Olympics. It is the first time since 2004 that no Magic players will be competing in the Olympics. Yes, not even Hedo Turkoglu‘s Turkey squad got an Olympic nod and, of course, Dwight Howard is sitting out this year’s Olympics.
The Opening Ceremonies were last night and the games of the XXX Olympiad are officially open. The U.S. Olympic Basketball Team will open play Sunday against France at 9:30 a.m. on NBC Sports Network. Be sure to check out Bloguin’s Olympic Basketball blog throughout the games. Many of us from the Crossover Chronicles and Bloguin basketball family are contributing there to cover Olympic basketball.
While the Magic are not represented in London this year, our presence there will still be felt.
If you watched the Opening Ceremonies, you saw very early on in the broadcast the Magic make their presence known. As this picture shows, an Orlando fan snuck into the stands right behind the choir singing early on in the program:
Can’t spot him? Here is a closer look:
Yes, the Magic still have international reach. You might see some Orlando jerseys speckled among the crowd at the basketball stadium during the tournament. They will probably be wearing Dwight Howard jerseys, but they should still say “Orlando” or “Magic” on them. We are cool with that part, I guess.
The Magic do have some connections to things that are actually going on in London during the next two and a half weeks.
Hedo Turkoglu was at the Opening Ceremonies and chronicled all the fun on Instagram. It is good to see him smiling again and the show was great, so I am sure he had a great time. Don’t know how the pizza is in that area of London. It appears Turkoglu was a guest of the Turkey Olympic Committee as many of his photos are with Hasan Arat, the vice president of the Turkish Olympic Committee. Be sure to check out his Twitter page, @hidoturkoglu15, for more photos (have your Google Translate handy as he tweets in Turkish a lot).
There is one final Magic connection to note. The Nigerian basketball team is led by former Magic center Olumide Oyedeji.
Oyedeji played in 27 games in 2003, scoring 27 points and 50 rebounds. He started three games. He was not too notable a player and as John Denton recollects:
I think some things have changed for Oyedeji, although his three-year NBA career ended.
Oyedeji is still not a scorer of any kind. He had only 10 points in the five-game qualifying tournament Nigeria did well in to get to the Olympics. He also had 15 total rebounds. His best game was a five-rebound, five-point performance against the Dominican Republic in the final game of qualifying for Nigeria (the one that got them into the tournament).
In the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship, Oyedeji had 8 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game in the tournament.
Oyedeji was not a long-time member of the Magic but if you are looking for a player with Magic connections… I think he is it. So cheer on our Magic alumnus as the Olympics open up!