The NBA lockout forced the cancelation of the AirTran Airways Pro Summer League, one of Central Florida’s signature annual sporting events. Though closed to the public, the week of exhibition games has helped rookies transition to pro ball, has given others a chance to earn training-camp invitations and has provided a relatively small, but welcome, economic boost to local businesses.
Ralph Oliver, the chef and managing partner of Kres Chophouse in downtown Orlando, learned Tuesday that the summer league was slated to be relocated from RDV Sportsplex to Amway Center. Oliver obviously would have welcomed any additional business from exhibitions at the arena — even if it meant just a few more full tables each night.
It’s a shame for the Magic, who have two rookies that they believe can contribute, or at least make the team. The Magic would have loved to not only see those players play against similar competition, but unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. It also hurts second-year pro Daniel Orton, who participated last season.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com) and is the co-host of the ESPN1080.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).