by Cole Pepper
It took four years, but the NBA is coming back to Jacksonville.
The Orlando Magic will play the New Orleans Pelicans on October 9, 2013 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. it’s the third time the Magic have played in Jacksonville and first in five years.
In 2008, the Magic and Miami Heat played an exhibition game. The following year, the Heat faced the Atlanta Hawks. Those games had some star power, even in the pre-Lebron James era for Miami. Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard were the featured players n 2008, and in 2009, there was some local flavor with former Gator Al Horford on the Hawks and Udonis Haslem on the Heat.
This game will feature substantially less star power considering that Eric Gordon and Tobias Harris were the leading scorers for the two teams (if you don’t know who was on which team, don’t feel bad).
However, the Magic hold the #2 pick in the NBA draft and could select a more recognizable name (albeit in a weaker draft). Kansas freshman Ben McLemore and Michigan’s Trey Burke have both been mentioned as possible selections for the Magic.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, as he reminded us today, dreams big and he “can see an NBA team in Jacksonville’s future.”
That remains to be seen. This game is also not much of a draw for visitors. What it does, it continue to show the nation that Jacksonville is a sporting event friendly city.
By portfolio, the Mayor means the variety of sporting events that have come to Jacksonville in his administration. That would include everything from the college basketball game on the Navy ship to International soccer matches to much smaller events.
Tickets for the NBA preseason game, which will be the pre-season opener for both teams, are on sale at the Arena ticket office, online at JaxEvents.com or on Ticketmaster. Prices range from $15-$250 for courtside seats. VIP opportunities are also available via the City of Jacksonville Sports & Entertainment office at (904) 630-3697.