Richard Milhouse Nixon's legacy, in the minds of most, begins with the Watergate break-in and ends with a resigned Tricky Dick throwing up deuces and boarding a helicopter out of town. While that is his enduring image, our 37th President of the United States was so much more than we remember. In his time in office, Nixon ended America's involvement in the Vietnam War, opened diplomatic relations with China, signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviets, established the Environmental Protection Agency, established the first minimum wage, brought the first national attention to cancer research and won the Space Race by putting a man on the Moon. But all you remember is Watergate.
The Orlando Magic have had some really, really good years. Shaq and Penny Hardaway brought them to the 1995 NBA Finals, and Lil' Penny was the best non-Jordan ad campaign of the '90s. Tracy McGrady won a scoring title for the Magic in 2003. Dwight Howard won three Defensive Player of the Year awards in a row. The Magic have been to the playoffs the past six years. In 2009, the Magic went through the Celtics and LeBron's heavily-favored Cavs to reach the NBA Finals. But all you remember is the Dwightmare.
Where Nixon covered up the Watergate break-in and was essentially forced to resign from the Presidency, the Magic (particularly since-fired GM Otis Smith) handled the long, miserable Dwight Howard fiasco about as poorly as possible. Trading for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas was basically re-arranging the deck chairs on Titanic, just as the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew did nothing to take the heat away from Nixon. Dwight Howard wanted a trade. Sometimes he pretended he didn't, but rather than go quietly, Howard took down coach Stan Van Gundy in one of the NBA's worst heel-turns. Howard was traded to the Lakers and the Magic wound up with Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, a platter of spare parts and some draft picks. Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum changed hands in that trade, the Magic wound up with neither of them.
In the aftermath of his resignation, Nixon quietly withdrew from the public eye for a while before being pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford. The 2012-2013 Orlando Magic are led by Afflalo, Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis. Hedo Turkoglu averaged 10.8 points per game last season and is the highest-paid player on the team. There's always the lottery, which, by the way, the Magic have won three times.
Rushed Pull-Up Jumpers
Headline we're most looking forward to: "Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu Face Off in Eating Contest at CiCi's Pizza, Everyone Involved Loses."
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?: "Did you bring Stan? I really want to hang out with that dude."