In town ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Wizards at Verizon Center, Orlando Magic Coach Frank Vogel canceled a scheduled practice Monday to take his team to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The impromptu field trip was more than an educational team bonding opportunity. It also provided players a respite before they began their only four-games-in-five-days stretch this season against Washington. (And really, how much do the Magic need to practice to prepare for a 6-13 Wizards team they’ve played twice already this season and that’s coming off a game Monday. I kid . . .)
Orlando point guard Elfrid Payton and forward Nikola Vucevic posed for photos with fellow museum visitors, which on Monday included Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. It’s unclear whether Magic players crossed paths with Hillary Clinton’s former running mate.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins reports that the Magic have made the most of their free time on their current five-game road trip. After defeating the Sixers on Friday, players and coaches climbed the “Rocky Steps” outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art and visited the Rocky statue before heading on to Detroit.
— Dante Marchitelli (@DanteMagic) December 3, 2016
The Magic are at least the third NBA team to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture while in D.C. to play the Wizards this season. The Suns and Heat both visited the museum, which opened to the public on Sept. 24, last month.
“It was emotional for all of us,” Miami forward Justise Winslow told the Sun Sentinel after his visit. “A lot of us are African American or come from black descent. But just as a team, all the coaching staff, all different races and ethnicities, it was great to just kind of go in there and learn something.”
Cavaliers star LeBron James and his charitable foundation recently announced a $2.5 million donation for a new exhibit about Muhammad Ali at the museum.