Whenever the next NBA season starts, I think we should be worried about the Orlando Magic. Not only will they be desperate because Dwight Howard has put them in a “win or else” situation with his insistence that the team win a championship or he’ll leave, but also because they are all learning how to use their fists as lethal weapons. That just doesn’t seem safe at all.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Ryan Anderson earns his living by swishing 3-point shots and by collecting rebounds, but on a recent afternoon, he looked more like Manny Pacquiao than a professional basketball player.

Wearing a pair of boxing gloves on his hands and a scowl on his face, the Orlando Magic power forward relentlessly jabbed a heavy bag with his left arm.

“Eight!” yelled Todd Drespling, who owns and runs Gym Rat Boxing and Fitness, a gym a few miles south of downtown Orlando. Anderson immediately unleashed a rapid barrage of eight left and right hooks. A loud “THWACK!” echoed throughout the gym each time he made contact.

Anderson spent the next 45 minutes completing a grueling workout that included almost 600 stomach crunches, countless punches and some weightlifting.

But he isn’t the only Magic player throwing jabs, hooks and uppercuts this offseason. Encouraged by team officials, Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Bass, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon have incorporated boxing into their training regimens. [...]

The goal of these sessions isn’t to become better fighters: No one is punching the Magic players, and they’re not punching anyone unless they’re aiming jabs, hooks and uppercuts into the pads Drespling often wears on his hands or over his ribs and stomach.

Magic strength and conditioning coach Joe Rogowski endorses the boxing workouts because they improve the players’ stamina, balance and mental toughness. The boxing also breaks up the monotony of players’ usual training routines of shooting baskets and weightlifting at Amway Center and running on the Jones High School track.

Have you guys seen Brandon Bass? I’m not sure teaching him how to effectively punch things is the best decision. Kinda worried he could do some damage if he ever got all punchy. Maybe the Magic should rethink this.

Obviously, duh, this is jokes. Boxing is a great way to stay in shape as you do not see that many fat boxers, Butterbean excepted and he never really counted anyway. And with the lockout coming — and players unable to associate with their teams’ fitness personnel — these sort of workouts are going to be extra important this summer. Staying shape without the help of various assistant coaches will be a challenge for some players, word to 1999 Shawn Kemp, so any and all things like the Magic’s boxing exploits are going to be key in figuring out which teams are serious contenders next season.

Nonetheless, gigantic hyperathletes learning the ins and outs of how to use their bodies to destroy still might not be the best idea. Unless, of course, you miss the glory days of wrestling/basketball crossover. In which case, more of this, please.

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