For the third year in a row, Nelson flew practically the entire Magic roster to his hometown of Philadelphia for "Building Magic," a week-long team-building retreat he puts on with zero input from team management. In addition to planning training sessions and nights out on the town, Nelson also arranged a talk from Marc Isenberg, an author who helps athletes make smarter financial decisions.
It's obvious that Nelson leaned on his teammates to make this a priority -- everyone made the trip but Dwight Howard, who's a little preoccupied trying to win Gold in Beijing, and Hedo Turkoglu, who's still in his home country of Turkey. And not only that, Nelson foots the bill for the entire thing, including plane tickets, hotel rooms, meals and training sessions.
From Harold Brubaker of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Money Players):
"I wouldn't do it if I couldn't afford it," said Nelson, a Chester native who is entering his fifth year in the NBA. At the same time, Nelson, who would not say how much he is spending this week, is well aware of the risk: "This is a gamble. Who says this is going the make the team better?"I'll be the first to admit, I've used this space in the past to give Nelson grief over the size of his contract, but the guy exudes leadership. I was in Orlando's locker room when the Magic were eliminated in the playoffs by the Pistons, and Nelson sat in front of his locker until reporters ran out of questions. And now this? Perhaps some players earn their contracts off the court as well as on.
There is something in it for Nelson. "Jameer's job as a point guard is to play at a high level and to show leadership at a high level. By doing this correctly, he creates more value for himself, both with Orlando and the rest of the league," said [Nelson's agent] Steve Mountain ...