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Rich DeVos not satisfied to have Magic in Finals
Rich DeVos not satisfied to have Magic in Finals

by Greg Johnson | The Grand Rapids Press

Thursday June 04, 2009, 9:30 AM

Rich DeVosRich DeVos is best known in West Michigan as the co-founder of Amway Corp. But he perhaps is happiest this week about being the owner of the Orlando Magic.

DeVos made sure nobody was getting carried away with just making it to the NBA Finals.

"We are happy, but not satisfied," he said.

The happy but not satisfied Eastern Conference champion Magic start the Finals tonight in Los Angeles against the Western Conference champion Lakers.

Or, if you are paying close attention, they go from teaching LeBron James that his supporting cast was not good enough to seeing how they fare with Kobe Bryant and his better band of teammates.

"People love you right now, we understand that, but we are focused on how we have to win four more ball games," said Bob VanderWeide, son-in-law to DeVos and the family's point man with the Magic as president and CEO.

"We are all graded, sometimes rightfully so, by wins and losses in the NBA. There's a scoreboard in every building, and our charge -- and my goal as leader of the franchise for the family -- has always been to win a bunch of championships.

"A 14-year drought of getting to the Finals is too long and we don't just want to be there. We have to figure out what to do with the Lakers."

DeVos and VanderWeide are aware of the task ahead and who will be doing the manual labor. The players and coaches, including star Dwight Howard and patchwork point guard fill-in Rafer Alston, will play the games and the most important roles.

In 1995, the Magic were in only their sixth season of existence and a fourth under DeVos family ownership. Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway were the shining stars of a team put together by some crafty draft day moves. It looked like championships in the making.

Then, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets swept them in the Finals, O'Neal left after one more season to become a Laker and Hardaway's star burned out.

Bob VanderWeide"It seems like a long time ago, but things happen quick in this industry, and we know we must take advantage of the opportunity," VanderWeide said. "When you finally get there, you have to try to win it."

DeVos said last summer before the Magic were eliminated from the 2008 playoffs by the Detroit Pistons that he was certain the franchise was headed in the right direction.

"Four more," he chanted with the crowd after Saturday's win while accepting the conference title trophy. Four more, of course, are the wins required to take the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

"L.A. can score the ball and they have a deep roster, but obviously we feel after coming through Philly, Boston and Cleveland that we are up to the task," VanderWeide said. "It's somewhat more of the same."

By that, he means the LeBron challenge now becomes the Kobe challenge.

The Magic exposed the supporting cast of James with defense. It is VanderWeide's opinion that Los Angeles offers a greater challenge, and he is correct. The Lakers have better depth.

As for his father-in-law, VanderWeide mentioned the smile.

"Even for an 83-year-old who has had the best that life has to offer, he still loves his team," VanderWeide said. "When everybody wants to talk Magic to him, he's a pretty happy guy."

Of course, he and Orlando could be happier after four more wins.


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