Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic NBA Franchise Donates $50K To Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC

The Orlando Magic NBA franchise has donated $50,000 to a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Business Insider reports Federal Election Commission records show DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC received a $50,000 check from the Orlando Magic on June 26. According to the records, this is the team’s first donation to a presidential campaign but not the first time the franchise has contributed to a political cause.

In 2000, the franchise donated $500 to Linda Chapin’s run for Congress and $500 to Conservative Results in 2016.

The Magic is owned by Richard DeVos, the father-in-law of former Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who served under former President Donald Trump. A Magic representative told Business Insider that despite what FEC records indicate, the check was dated and signed several days before DeSantis announced he was running for president.

“To clarify, this gift was given before Governor DeSantis entered the presidential race,” the representative said. “It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida.”

DeSantis’ campaign is off to a slow start, and he has let go about a third of his staff. The governor and other Republican presidential candidates have struggled to gain traction against Trump, who still has a hold on the party despite being arraigned for the third time in four months.

The National Basketball Players Association released a statement Thursday.

“A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary. NBA governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements. However, if contributions are made on behalf of an entire team, using money earned through the labor of its employees, it is incumbent upon the team governors to consider the diverse values and perspectives of staff and players. The Magic’s donation does not represent player support for the recipient.”

One of the Magic’s biggest sponsors is The Walt Disney Co., which has been in a  yearslong fight with the Florida governor after it denounced DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney’s logo is on the Magic’s jerseys as part of a multiyear agreement.

The Magic, amid a rebuild, finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 34-48 record. The team has a Black head coach in Jamahl Mosley, who has also been named the head coach of the 2023 USA Men’s Select Team that will train with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team as it prepares for the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup, Aug. 25–Sep. 10 in Manila.

In June, the Magic drafted Anthony Black with the No.6 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and he will be paired with 2022-’23 Rookie Of The Year Paolo Banchero, who averaged a team-high 20 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.