Orlando Magic’s new facility adds to growing franchise foundation

Wendell Carter was among the first Orlando Magic players to see the completed AdventHealth Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Carter was among the first Orlando Magic players to see the completed AdventHealth Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Throughout the season, the excitement over the Orlando Magic’s new practice facility was growing.

In lieu of practice one day late in the season, coach Jamahl Mosley took his team over to the still-under construction site to share the vision that began with a conversation between Jeff Weltman and Alex Martins 4.5 years ago.

The court was already down the last time they went over there, but much of the building was still unfinished. It all still seemed so theoretical, the blank slate that was reminiscent of the culture and the roster the team was building.

Just as no one can imagine what this team may ultimately one day look like, no one likely could have imagined what the finished product would be.

Wendell Carter may well have been the first player to get a look at the finished product, getting his own tour of the facility before the official ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

The usually quiet and contemplative Magic center was wide-eyed and visibly excited about the opportunity to get to work in the Magic’s $70-million facility. He said he was amazed at everything he saw.

From that point when he got his initial tour to this point where the building is essentially open — it will open later this month with the Magic moving in ahead of the start of training camp and the public portion of the building opening in a few weeks — was a big step forward.

The Orlando Magic officially unveiled their new training facility as they lay the foundation for their team’s future growth with a state-of-the-art workspace.

He also understood what all these resources mean too.

For all the bells and whistles the Magic are now providing their players, it will still come down to the work they will put in while working in this building.

Wednesday was an exciting day as the Magic officially unveiled this crown jewel for the team. It was exciting for all that is certainly still to come.

"“We’re all pretty excited,” Carter said during Wednesday’s grand tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I think when everybody comes in and sees the commitment from our ownership and AdventHealth, it’s going to be we have something to prove. You can’t have a facility like this and not be one of the best teams in the league. I think we’re all pretty much on the same page when it comes to that thing. I think it is going to add to our drive this year.”"

That work is still a long way away. The Magic are laying their foundations as a team to make that climb up the standings. This facility is very much a part of the foundation the team is laying.

A fresh start for a fresh team. And the team now has all the tools to keep getting better.

The Magic’s new practice facility has all the bells and whistles and a whole lot more.

Weltman said he spoke with Martins 4.5 years ago with the germs of an idea to remake the Magic’s training facility. The league in its increasing arms race had outgrown the state-of-the-art Amway Center. The team needed more to keep up.

The initial idea started with building a standalone facility with at least two courts to give the Magic more space to get their work in.

This facility achieves that with two courts and two half-court shooting courts that are separate from the two full courts.

For comparison’s sake, the Magic currently only have one court inside their Amway Center facility. If they split up into half-courts on side baskets for shooting drills, players could still run into each other while they do their workouts.

Put in a harder numbers way, the Magic’s practice court space went from 6,000 square feet inside the Amway Center’s AdventHealth Practice Facility to 21,000 square feet of court space.

That just gives a brief look at the scope of this expansion.

The Magic continued to add more, trying to take the best from all the newer practice facilities they visited as they studied what other teams have.

From an altitude training room, which Martins believed was the first of its kind in the NBA, to simulate different altitudes for training, to an outdoor lap pool to a sensory deprivation chamber to a barber shop to lockers so big they rival walk-in closets for each player to the latest in training and workout equipment — and still plenty of space to add more, it sure does not feel like they left any stone unturned.

If there is something they missed, there is plenty of space to add it. As Martins and Weltman both said, the building was designed to be sustainable and last longer than these practice facilities seem to these days.

The building speaks for itself, whether that is for recruiting future free agents or for preparing players for their work. It very well might be the best facility in the league now and one that already seems to be engendering some jealousy.

There just does not seem to be much to compare it to.

That includes the public portion of the facility. In addition to the Magic’s practice facility, the AdventHealth Training Center will feature a sports medicine and wellness center that is open to the public — athletes of all skill levels from elite athletes to weekend warriors as the Magic and AdventHealth reps put it.

The facility will also be fully equipped with an MRI machine and CAT scan machines for advanced imaging for both the Magic and local athletes. More importantly, all of their imaging machines are built for large human beings like NBA players.

It will also house the first standing CAT scan in Central Florida, a machine that can examine how the body is putting pressure on hips, ankles, legs and feet.

The Magic’s practice court directly adjoins the imaging area in case there are injuries during practice and even during games with the team able to cart players over from the Amway Center for immediate hospital-level imaging rather than going to AdventHealth’s hospital on Princeton Street near Downtown Orlando.

The convenience of the whole thing was part of the attraction. The Magic hope they have created an environment where players will spend time together inside the facility and have everything they need.

Now they just have to put the work in and make good on the investment.

"“Certainly, when you create a facility like this, the intention is to up the level of play, up the level of competition that the team is able to perform at,” Martins said Wednesday. “Hopefully fewer injuries, preventing injuries on the front end, recuperating from injuries on the back end and at the end of the day having players out on the court more often. That in and of itself translates itself to more winning.“The hope and the intention is a facility like this raises the bar for our players like for our employees, they come to work, they work hard, they know they are appreciated and they know they have everything they need to be successful and compete at the highest levels of the game.”"

Carter said finding that comfort and having everything provided for them to do their work is part of what makes moving in so exciting.

This is the exciting part too. The Magic are giving their young team every tool imaginable to be their best, prepare their best and recover to be their best.

Martins has long said the team was putting the most investment into its basketball operations than ever before. This is the physical embodiment of that. No one is questioning the DeVos family’s commitment to giving the Magic the best (if they could before).

Now comes the part of putting it together on the court. This building gives the team the foundation it needs for that growth.

"“We don’t need this facility for them to feel that sense of pride in themselves and this team,” Weltman said Wednesday. “But this takes everything to a whole new level. And it puts them in a position to get everything they need to succeed.”"

This is a big moment for the Magic and they know it too. They like the young group they have put together and the way they have developed together. Martins said the team has done well to stick with its development plan.

Building the training facility was part of that plan, knowing it would be a tool to help the team get the most out of these young players and their development.

Next. Cole Anthony has the most to prove for the Orlando Magic. dark

The Magic now have every tool they need to succeed now. But as Martins said in the public ribbon-cutting ceremony, a building is only about what is inside of it. The Magic have a building to be proud of. And now they have to build inside it.