Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Little girl works the Magic for Orlando

THE Orlando Magic are sticking with their undefeated lineup, one that features a seven-year-old girl.

Orlando is 4-0 at home in the NBA playoffs when little Gina Marie Incandela sings the American anthem, and another one of her stirring renditions is planned before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals that was scheduled for late yesterday.

"They win when she sings," her mother, Michelle, said on Friday. "It's a wonderful coincidence."

Maybe it is just by chance, but Gina - who has a form of autism - has perhaps become Orlando's lucky charm and is one of the Magic's biggest inspirations. She didn't have a normal infancy.

Gina had poor eye contact. She would not play with toys. Bright lights and loud noises used to frighten her. Places like theme parks and carnivals, let alone an arena with 20,000 screaming fans, were intolerable. Before long, she was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, autism, or PDD-NOS.

Her parents, Michelle and Dwayne, feared she would never be able to speak.

Humming songs

So they enrolled her in a program at the University of Central Florida. Teachers used music to help her speech, and slowly Gina started humming songs around the house. She eventually picked up on one of her favorite artists, Leanne Rimes, and began belting her own version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with unbelievable bravado.

Gina has become the ultimate crowd pleaser at Magic home games.

She barely comes up to the knees of most players. But her booming voice makes for can't-miss moments.

"She's amazing," Magic center Dwight Howard said.

She has performed before games of baseball's Florida Marlins, ice hockey's Tampa Bay Lightning and even at tennis' US Open. And so far, her and the Magic have been a perfect mix.

She left a sellout crowd with their jaws dropped before the Magic beat the Miami Heat on February 22. She did it again before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics, and Orlando won. After the Magic lost Game 4 to the Celtics in her absence, they've called her back for every home game since, same color guard and all.

Each time they've won.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend