Not My Job: We Quiz Orlando Magic Star Aaron Gordon On Actual Magic
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
We have time for one more segment as we take the week off to play outside. So let's hear from someone who spends most of his time playing inside.
BILL KURTIS: Orlando Magic star Aaron Gordon joined us onstage when we went down to Orlando in November. Peter looked so tiny next to him.
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SAGAL: You've got fans. I've got to ask you - I should admit I'm not, you know, conversant with, like, the basketball stuff - how is it that someone the size of the Statue of Liberty...
SAGAL: ...Is a small forward?
AARON GORDON: I would like to think of myself as a powerful small forward...
GORDON: ...You know? It's just, like, kind of a mix of a couple of different things.
SAGAL: Is it, like, a power forward, and then there's a small forward?
GORDON: Yeah, exactly.
GORDON: So it's kind of like a lot of - maybe a hyphen in it.
SAGAL: Hyphen? Yeah, OK. Yeah.
MO ROCCA: Is the power forward more of a ball hog? Because it sounds like the small forward is nicer and shares the ball more.
GORDON: When it comes to rebounding, yes. A power forward can just be as ball hog-ish (ph) as he'd like to be.
SAGAL: Your whole family...
SAGAL: ...Is a family of basketball players. Your parents play? Your father play?
GORDON: Yeah. Dad played at San Diego State.
SAGAL: And your brother plays pro ball.
GORDON: He played pro ball overseas. He's been to a bunch of places. So he plays, and then my sister played at Harvard.
GORDON: So she was a Harvard basketball player. And I play.
SAGAL: Right. So I imagine your friendly games at home are absolutely vicious.
GORDON: Oh, my gosh. Oh, they were...
GORDON: ...Gruesome at times.
SAGAL: Because I know that one of the things the NBA is known for is trash talk. Do you trash-talk your siblings?
GORDON: Oh, definitely.
SAGAL: All right. Tell me something.
SAGAL: All right. Let's go with what you say to your sister.
GORDON: It's kind of like the saying - I'm the youngest...
GORDON: So just by nature, I'm the most annoying.
SAGAL: Right. Of course.
SAGAL: That's your role. I have a younger brother. Yeah.
GORDON: More like, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah, I'm better. You're not. You know what...
GORDON: ...I mean? Along the lines of...
SAGAL: Yeah. I mean...
GORDON: That's about it.
SAGAL: I mean, just do you, like, leave your NBA contract out on a table?
SAGAL: Oh, I'm sorry. I left this here. Let me pick it up.
SAGAL: Oh, some money fell out of my pocket. Let me grab that, as well.
SAGAL: So you are known for your enthusiasm for the slam dunk contest.
SAGAL: Yes. And...
SAGAL: You did a slam dunk in which you vaulted on top of and then over the mascot. And you just - DID you just go up to the mascot and say, you're just going to stand there, and I'm going to jump up, put my hands in your head and go over you, and you're going to hold up the ball. And the mascot was like, OK.
GORDON: Pretty much.
SAGAL: The mascot - is he, like - the mascot does not say no to Aaron Gordon.
GORDON: It's actually - it's really funny because Stuff the Magic Dragon - he's a great mascot. You know what I mean?
GORDON: He's a great mascot. He is. He's this, like, green dragon. He has these stars on the top of his head. And, when I was practicing, I couldn't get the grip of the ball right. So I was, like, Stuff, buddy...
GORDON: You might need to take the stars off your head. And he was really going to take one for the team. He was a team player. And we did it, and I got the dunk. But I could just see the sadness in this mascot...
GORDON: ...In his body language - like he had lost a part of himself with the stars. You know, so...
GORDON: Yeah. So we were, like, OK. We put the stars back on his head. Just - I had to make it work for the sake of him.
SAGAL: That's a heartwarming story.
GORDON: Yeah. That's my good friend these days.
SAGAL: Well, Aaron Gordon, we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...
SAGAL: You play for the Orlando Magic, but what do you know about real magic - by which we mean magic shows?
SAGAL: We're going to ask you three questions about great magicians. Answer two of them correctly, and you will win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of their choice on their voicemail. Bill, who is Aaron playing for?
KURTIS: Hal Ray of Tampa, Fla.
GORDON: OK - Florida boy. All right. Here we go.
SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. One of the great magicians of the late 19th century was Harry Kellar. How did Kellar learn to do his greatest trick, the levitating woman? Was it, A, he was a practicing Buddhist who attained enlightenment and was given control over gravity...
SAGAL: ...B, he tied the woman to a thousand trained fleas, who flew her upward...
SAGAL: ...Or C, he walked up on stage while another magician was doing the trick, ran around back to see what was done and then ran away.
GORDON: I'm going to go with the latter one.
SAGAL: You're correct.
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GORDON: All right. I like that. I like that.
SAGAL: It was pretty daring, but that's how you get to be a legend of magic. All right. Second question - let's see if you do as well. Another great magician of that golden era of magic was Carter the Great, and one of his famous tricks was which of these? A, the magical divorce, a trick in which he made his own wife disappear...
SAGAL: ...B, the disappearing theater in which the entire audience found itself in a suddenly vacant lot sitting on their butts; or C, the vaguely disquieting meal in which Carter ate an ear of corn raw.
GORDON: I think I'm going to go with B.
SAGAL: You're going with B - the disappearing theater. All of a sudden, everybody was out there sitting on their butts in a field.
GORDON: That's the one.
SAGAL: That's the one. He picked it. Sadly, he missed this shot. No, I'm afraid.
GORDON: Oh, dang.
SAGAL: It was actually the magical divorce. He made his wife disappear. His wife eventually decided that wasn't funny.
GORDON: So she's still around.
SAGAL: She's still around. She stayed married to him...
SAGAL: But he changed the name of the trick to the phantom bride. So this is your last question. If you get this right, you win.
SAGAL: Some magicians have been able to use their skills in real life such as in which of these? A, Doug Henning, who used to skip out on dinner checks by making himself disappear during dessert...
SAGAL: : ...B, Penn Jillette, who for three years has made himself look like he's lost a hundred pounds by constantly surrounding himself with trick mirrors...
SAGAL: ...Or C, David Copperfield, who once made his wallet disappear while he was being mugged.
GORDON: I'm going to go with Copperfield. It's C.
SAGAL: You're going to go David Copperfield. That's right, Aaron.
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SAGAL: He says he was being mugged outside walking to his car after a performance. Some guy came up, tried to mug him, and he made his watch, wallet and passport disappear.
GORDON: Oh, man.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Aaron do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Two out of three is a win.
SAGAL: Aaron Gordon is the small forward for the Orlando Magic. Aaron Gordon, thank you for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Aaron Gordon, everybody.
GORDON: All right. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.