Ownership of the Orlando Magic fed Rich’s spirit of competition, adventure
‘Why not us? Why not now?’
When Rich DeVos asked the team this question, it became their rallying cry.
- Five division championships
- Seven 50-plus win seasons
- Eastern Conference titles in 1995 and 2009
A Magic Endeavor
No one who truly appreciated Rich’s spirit of competition and adventure should have been surprised when he and his family made a decision in 1991 to buy the NBA Orlando Magic.
After all, this was the man who friends remembered cartwheeling across his high school basketball court and the boy his sister, Jan, recalled finding creative ways to play sports around the house—from rigging a homemade basketball hoop to flooding a vacant lot for a skating rink. And despite his initial failed sailing adventure, Rich went on to become a winning competitive sailor and someone for whom family vacations meant skiing, snorkeling and exploring in exotic locales.
A regular in the locker room
Owning an NBA team for Rich went far beyond fulfilling his need to compete and win. The Orlando Magic was also an opportunity to tap his talents to inspire and mentor young athletes and serve his adopted community of Central Florida as he did his hometown of Grand Rapids.
The Magic players quickly discovered they had a unique owner in Rich. The sports media was giving the Magic little chance to win its first championship playoff when Rich entered the locker room and advised the team to tune out the negatives.
He asked them, “Why not us? Why not now?” The phrase became their battle cry. The Magic did not win the NBA Finals, but Rich’s inspiration and insistence on quality performance surely helped the franchise, which has won five division championships, had seven 50-plus win seasons and captured the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009.
Rich also saw the wisdom of mentoring the players, who, despite being highly paid elite athletes, were young men—some barely beyond their teens. He and his family also hosted players in their home to show how much he cared for them as individuals off the court.
“I speak to the players often and attend all the games I can,” Rich once said. “I encourage them to be their best every day in every game.”
The community’s team
As owners of the Magic, the DeVos family takes seriously its role as civic leaders in Orlando and remains dedicated to the principle that the team really belongs to the community.
The family continues their stewardship because of what the team means to Orlando and in keeping with the Magic mission statement, which reads: “We enhance the quality of life in our communities by pioneering excellence in the management of sports and wellness through a commitment to family values.”
Inspired by Rich’s example, the Magic seeks to unite players, fans and the community in “something bigger than ourselves.”
In 2016, the Magic inducted DeVos into their hall of fame.
A Magic gift
The family enhanced the quality of life in Orlando through the donation of millions of dollars to charities and education.
The Orlando Magic’s parent organization, RDV Sports, was named Outstanding Philanthropic Organization of the Year by the National Society of Fundraising Executives in 2008.
And the Richard and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award encouraged Magic players to use their NBA celebrity status to enrich lives in the community.