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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Farewell To The Am, Howard Is The DPOTY


Long time Magic writer Brian Schmitz says good-bye to Amway Arena.

"Here’s what the arena represents to me: Sports civilization and sophistication for Orlando. The city finally joined the majors. Fans had a pro team to call their own, celebrating and commiserating at office water coolers. Who knew it would be basketball intruding on football country?If you were around here in the mid-70’s, wearing your bell-bottoms and platform shoes (guilty as charged), you’ll recall that it was a sports wasteland.Great place to live (and drive), but there was nothing resembling the major leagues. There was the Orlando Sports Stadium for boxing, the Tangerine Bowl (now Citrus) for college football and Florida Tech (UCF)-Rollins basketball and minor-league baseball at Tinker Field."

You can find that story here.

Mike Bianchi also discusses the arena and where it ranks among the in-state venues.

"As I was reading Schmitz’s story, I started thinking about the The Am’s place in history and where it ranks in the hierarchy of great sports venues in this state.Certainly, it’s not as storied as a place like the Orange Bowl, but it’s had its fair share of memories and moments. Even though I didn’t live in Orlando at the time, my most lasting memory here was when Magic Johnson returned to win the 1992 All-Star Game’s MVP after he shockingly revealed to the world that he was HIV positive."

You can find this story here.

Antonio Gonzalez also bids farewell to the arena.

"Williams helped energize Orlando residents. City officials took to the idea, and the entire community rallied around the proposal. The building, publicly funded at a cost of more than $100 million, soon became reality.The arena’s lasting legacy will likely be that it helped bring the NBA to Orlando. Construction began in January 1987, three months before the league approved the expansion franchise along with Miami, Charlotte and Minnesota.“The arena was the key to getting the team,” Williams said. “There had to be a building. She was our saving grace.”"

You can find that story here.

John Denton also takes a look back at Amway arena.

"One of Vander Weide’s favorite moments was advancing to the 1995 NBA Finals. That feeling was duplicated last spring when DeVos got to raise the silver ball for the Eastern Conference title once again. “There are so many things here for us. The first time we sat here as owners back in the 1991-92 season, and obviously that Game 7 against Indiana (in 1995) after we thought we had it won in Game 6,’’ Vander Weide said. “We came back here and the attitude of the fans and the volume of noise were unbelievable. We just blew them out and it still gives me a few chills thinking about how good the fans were and how strong we were as a franchise. “I still remember a lot of other moments like Donald Royal’s shot to win a regular-season game and the way the team rallied around him to (Hedo Turkoglu’s) corner shot and obviously Nick’s steal. There have just been so many big plays here.’’"

You can find that story here.

Every ESPN NBA analyst besides Tim Legler made Dwight Howard their Defensive Player Of The Year. You can check out the voting here.

Kevin Pelton made his All-Defense picks and also made Howard his Defensive Player Of The Year.

"First Team and Defensive Player of the Year – Dwight Howard, OrlandoWhen I fill out my awards ballot tomorrow, there will be two honors that merit virtually no discussion because they are so obvious. One is MVP and the other is Defensive Player of the Year. Howard is so far beyond his peers defensively it is remarkable. He’s accounted for 13.9 WARP at the defensive end, which would be good enough to place him in the league’s top 10 in total WARP even if Howard was merely average on offense. Howard ranks second in the league in defensive rebound percentage and ninth in block percentage, and he’s also stifled opposing centers. His dMult looks like a typo; opponents have been held an incomprehensible 41.4 percent below their usual production. Orlando is at the moment the league’s best defensive team despite starting a converted small forward at the four, a poor defender at shooting guard and for much of the year either an aging Jason Williams or Jameer Nelson hobbled by knee surgery at the point. That’s a testament to the incredible force that Howard is in the paint."

You can find his full team here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).