Magic owner Richard DeVos dies at age 92

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Richard DeVos and his family bought the Magic in 1991, but for someone in his position, he mostly stayed out of headlines.

For better or worse.

DeVos now went his whole life without what could have been far greater public scrutiny.


DeVos was a solid owner. The Magic never won a title, and they’ve been in a rut lately, missing the playoffs the last six seasons. But they played in nearly as many postseason series (25) as seasons the DeVos family has owned the team (27). DeVos regularly paid the luxury tax while Dwight Howard was in his prime.

Perhaps, DeVos should get even more credit for his philanthropy. He donated considerably to many worthy causes, in and outside of the Orlando area.

But he also gave significant money to organizations attempting to ban gay marriage. This went beyond run-of-the-mill donations to Republicans, of which DeVos did plenty, too. This was a concerted effort to restrict the basic rights of a group of people, and DeVos was outspoken in his views about gay people.

DeVos’s anti-gay sentiments were discussed briefly while the NBA was excising Donald Sterling for saying racist things, but the storm quieted quickly. DeVos was always more likeable than Sterling, and that helped the former avoid comparisons to the latter.

At this point, expect plenty of fawning over DeVos – much of it deserved. But if we’re going to evaluate his legacy, we should consider everything.