In celebration of the Orlando Magic's 25th anniversary season, the organization is granting local youth the opportunity to meet Magic players. The Magic Makers program will give 25 kids this opportunity throughout the 2013-14 Magic season.
A friend of the family nominated 13-year-old Special Olympics champion Annamarie Nieves to be one of the Magic Makers.
"This is one of your wishes, right? To come here?" FOX 35's Tracy Jacim asks Annamarie. She replies, "Yes!" And when asked why? "Because I like it!" she says.
Annamarie is a straight shooter.
Tonight, she is treated to a court side visit with members of the Magic family and presented with a jersey with her name on the back. Annamarie smiles and holds up the jersey. Then, in walks current Magic player Tobias Harria and former player and current Community Ambassador Nick Anderson. They pose for a picture with Annamarie and her family.
It turns out that Annamarie is a big fan of Anderson.
"For her to have the opportunity to come to the game and meet some players, and former players like myself, I know it means a lot to her and her parents," says Anderson. "To see that someone outside the family really cares about her!"
"To be in this atmosphere, we've never done this before," says Annamarie's mom, Ann, during a pre-game meal. "It's awesome!"
As Annamarie walks onto the court, she plugs her ears to filter out the loud music. Then, the family takes the best seats they've ever seen.
"The Orlando Magic has done a wonderful job," says Annamarie's dad, Omar. "Treated like we were above and beyond special people."
When asked what she thinks is the most important thing she wants people to know about her daughter, Ann answers, "She does have special needs, but she's our princess, and we wouldn't have her any other way."
The night is a slam-dunk for Annamarie, and it turned out to be a big night for the Magic as well, having defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 94-91.
Applications are still being accepted for the remaining 25 Magic Makers. You can log on to OrlandoMagic.comcommunity to nominate someone you think would be the ideal candidate.