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I dare you not to like the Orlando Magic's Adonal Foyle.
He doesn't play much, but he has a lot going on. Last weekend, Foyle and I borrowed some courtside seats at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. It was an hour and a half or so before an important playoff game. A player or two were shooting around on the court, and early-bird Philly fans saw Foyle stray near and were ready to give him a whole mountain of crap, as they do. "They have Sunday leagues for people like you!" "Hope you like that seat -- 'cause you're going to be stuck in it all game."
Stuff like that. Garden variety taunting. Foyle -- who is big as any two of his little teenaged tormenters, about 10 rows back -- wrinkled his eyebrows at the boys. Kind of like a teacher might at the bad kids.
This was Philadelphia. They didn't care. They amped it up. He pretended to be a little angry, then sat down for the interview, giggling.
After we talked, he got up to warm up. His first mission was some lateral slides, only, he turned to the audience, and added another element to that drill: Passing a ball to the bad kids, and getting them to pass it back. Then he passed it to other people in the stands, who loved it. All the while he kept up that tremendous smile, while also showing he was more than happy to enter whatever kind of debate those kids wanted to have. He was so disarming: At one point, he passed the ball to a kid. On catching it, the kid said "I probably have better hands than you do!"
To which Foyle replied "You probably do! Now pass it back."
Who couldn't like that?