In this summer of professional sports gone tilt, the accountable often get overlooked. But they are out there, doing it the right way.
For the second consecutive summer, Jameer Nelson invited all his Orlando Magic teammates to Philadelphia for a weeklong bonding session - at his expense. And every member of the team, except those involved with the Tournament of the Americas in Las Vegas took Nelson up on his offer.
The players arrived Sunday. Every day, they congregated at Summit Sports in Bryn Mawr for morning training under the direction of Jim Ferris. In the afternoon, they went to Haverford College for a 2-hour basketball run. At night, they went out to dinner as a team. Last night, the final evening together, they headed for Atlantic City.
"This improves the relationship that you have with your guys," Nelson said.
His Magic teammates in town included Rashard Lewis, Orlando's big free agent prize from Seattle. Nelson especially wanted Lewis there.
"It's important for Rashard to come in hitting the ground running," Nelson said. "He's our superstar. It's good that he's here with the guys. Obviously, I am doing this to help us win."
Lewis had heard about what Nelson and the Magic did last year.
"When he called me and told me they were going to be doing it again this year, there was no hesitation on my part," Lewis said. "I figured it was a chance to get to know all these guys on a personal level before we go to training camp."
Ferris is in charge of Summit's summer program. The Magic players got a dose of the boxing, yoga and running that are staples of the program.
In addition to the training, the hoops, the dinners and the fun, the players also got a 40-minute lecture Wednesday morning from Dr. James B. Maas, a longtime professor of psychology at Cornell, the man who coined the term "power nap" and author of "Power Sleep".
Maas explained that the vast majority of us are sleep deprived. He also explained that athletes who get the proper amount of sleep get a significant edge.
His suggestions were all common sense that most of us never even consider. Go to sleep at the same time and get up at the same time. No alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. No distractions when about to sleep.
NBA players, of course, have some issues with late night flights and crazy schedules. But the point was still the point. A rested athlete is a better athlete.
And, yes, they did play hoops. Wednesday afternoon, several Sixers, including Lou Williams, Jason Smith and Derrick Byars, joined the Magic players at Haverford. When word gets out about a run, the secret does not last long. Villanova's Kyle Lowry and Malik Allen were there. Yah Davis and Dwayne Jones from St. Joe's were there too.
There was no scoreboard, clock or officials - just a bunch of guys running up and down the court, as a team from Florida got to know each better in Philadelphia because a player from Chester High and St. Joe's just wants to do it all right. *