Strange but true facts:
There are more plastic flamingos in the United States than real ones.
Some species of worms end up eating themselves if they can't find food anywhere else.
Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln and Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy.
And then there is perhaps the most bizarre factoid of all:
And guess what, Magic fans?
Next year might get even worse, er, better.
The Magic had 20 wins this year. Maybe next season they can shed a few more of those dreaded victories and get down to 14.
Just lose, baby.
I realize nobody is willing to admit Magic management probably deliriously drenched each other with champagne after the team secured the worst record in the league and the best odds in the upcoming draft lottery with Wednesday night's season-ending loss to the Miami Heat. But if everybody were being bluntly honest, Magic GM Rob Hennigan would have dispatched this message to fans Thursday during his exit interview with the media:
"We were pretty bad this year, but hopefully next year we'll be even worse!!!"
Of course, no organization would ever publicly admit losing is a good thing because it would rankle fans, not to mention draw a hefty fine from NBA Commissioner David Stern. Which is why Hennigan adamantly and defiantly had this to say Thursday: "We want to make sure we try to win every game and that's what we tried to do this year and that's the truth. … That's what we're about."
Yes, and Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman, Iraq was rife with weapons of mass destruction and Pete Rose never bet on baseball.
Of course the Magic were trying to lose — not intentionally but organizationally. And the way you do that is you put the young, developing, not-ready-for-primetime players on the floor and let them take their lumps. Meanwhile, you leave the veteran players on the bench and let them nurse their nagging injuries.
Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, for example, sat out the Magic's final nine games of the year with a sprained ankle. When I asked him Thursday if he would have played had the Magic been in the running for a playoff spot, he just smiled and said, "I just do what the doctors tell me."
Don't get me wrong, I completely understand and endorse what the Magic are doing. And, for the most part, I believe fans do, too. Why not bottom out for a couple of years if that's what gives you the best and quickest chance to get back to the top?
One thing about the Magic is this: When they are down, they aren't usually down long. Over the last 20 years, they've been to the playoffs more than all but five other teams in the league. They traditionally try to rebuild as quickly as possible by clearing the decks and then writing the checks in an attempt to make their next big run at a championship.
Systematically losing may go against everything we've ever been taught about sports, but so, too, does a superstar like Dwight Howard leaving a team and a town after professing his love and loyalty to that team and town. You gotta do what you gotta do to recover from such a devastating punch to the gut.
"We're not happy with 20 wins," Hennigan said. "That's unacceptable to us. At the same time, we realize it's a process and we want to be good for a long time. We can't skip steps to get to that point."
Translation: Just lose, baby.
It is the quickest, most effective way to build a winner.
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