By John Denton
April 12, 2017
ORLANDO – Upon announcing that they were moving their NBA Development League affiliate to nearby Lakeland in December, the Orlando Magic touted the new opportunities available to broaden the scope of their franchise brand throughout Central Florida and toward Florida’s Gulf Coast region.
Now, following months of deliberation over what nickname to attach to Lakeland’s fledgling franchise, the already familiar “Magic’’ name will be spreading to new regions of Florida.
Thousands of entries were submitted in the “Name the Team Contest’’ since January, and ultimately “Magic’’ was chosen as the nickname for the D-League franchise that will begin play in the fall at the Lakeland Center. Other nickname suggestions frequently submitted in the contest open to fans over the past four months: Swans, Alchemy, Voodoo, Dragons, Illusion and Lakers.
Currently, seven of the 22 teams in the D-League have the same nickname as their parent club. They are: Westchester (N.Y.) Knicks, Long Island (N.Y.) Nets, Raptors (Ontario) 905, Windy City (Ill.) Bulls, Santa Cruz (Calif.) Warriors, Northern Arizona (Ariz.) Suns and the Austin (Texas) Spurs.
Choosing “Magic’’ for Lakeland made perfect sense considering that one of the team’s goals is to use the franchise to broaden the appeal of the parent club to others in the Sunshine State, Lakeland Magic president Shelly Wilkes said.
“After careful, thoughtful consideration, and to create synergy and extend the Orlando Magic brand, we made the determination to call our team the Lakeland Magic,’’ said Wilkes, who took over her current position in January. “We appreciate all the entries and enthusiasm with our “name the team contest,’’ and we received multiple entries for the name Magic – which we ended up concurring with and ultimately choosing.’’
Among the thousands of entries in the “Name the Team’’ contest, the Magic name was submitted hundreds of times. The winning name was first entered by Nemanja Kovacevic, who will win a pair of season tickets to the Lakeland Magic’s 2017-18 season.
In addition, the first 10 fans who participated in the contest will receive a pair of opening night tickets for the inaugural Lakeland Magic season.
Season ticket deposits for the 2017-18 season are being accepted by calling 407-447-2210 or logging on to www.lakelandmagic.com.
The Lakeland Magic also announced RP Funding as the team’s inaugural Founding Partner. RP Funding, a direct mortgage leader which underwrites, closes and funds its own loans to offer customers the best deals and a superior level of service. As a Founding Partner, RP Funding will receive prominent exposure at The Lakeland Center.
“We are honored to have RP Funding join our family,’’ Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “This is yet another example of a progressive company showing its commitment to our team. We believe this partnership will be mutually beneficial and will provide the opportunity for RP Funding to deliver a direct, positive and engaging message to our fan base and beyond. Through this new agreement, together we will also seek opportunities for local outreach.’’
Basketball fans in Lakeland and surrounding Polk County will be able to identify with the Magic’s partnership with RP Funding as president/owner Robert Palmer, who is a native of Lakeland and a tremendous success story. Palmer was eager to support and promote his hometown’s new team and he is hopeful that others in the Lakeland area will do the same.
In addition to RP Funding, Palmer has started several other businesses under the Robert Palmer Companies umbrella. He also shares his financial, real estate and marketing knowledge on his radio show “Saving Thousands’’ on iHeart radio, which is broadcast throughout Florida.
“RP Funding is thrilled to join the Orlando and Lakeland Magic families and be a part of this historic moment in the city of Lakeland,’’ Palmer said. “As someone born and raised in Polk County, I’m honored to do my part to enhance the rich history and tradition here while helping shape the future of sports in Lakeland.’’
Lakeland also unveiled its inaugural team logo and official web site (LakelandMagic.com). The new logo incorporates the Orlando Magic’s current jersey/logo wordmark giving it an integrated look from Orlando to Lakeland. It continues the original Magic team’s colors with the Magic blue, Magic black and Magic silver. The logo also incorporates the team’s presenting partner, HomeValue.com, a Robert Palmer Company.
The look features five of the iconic stars to represent each player on the court creating a smooth transition from Orlando to Lakeland. These five stars pay homage to Orlando’s iconic silver-colored stars that have been part of the team’s logo lineage. The silver stars were originally featured prominently as replacements for the letter “a” in both “Orlando” and “Magic” within the team’s first logo in 1989. The silver stars have remained a part of the Magic’s logo throughout the years and live on in the Lakeland Magic, building on the heritage of the Orlando Magic while creating a history all its own in Lakeland.
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.