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The Old Guy Who Needs A Rest began his Friday with a 9 a.m. tee-off time in a celebrity golf tournament for a charitable cause.

Eighteen holes later, he left the lunch and schmooze cool down to drive from Windermere to downtown for his basketball camp at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.

After lacing up his And1 sneaks, Darrell Armstrong jumped onto the court for a counselors-vs.-kids all-star game. He stopped dribbling, scooped the ball underneath, through, and then up his legs and fired a shot from beyond the 3-point arch. He took another shot from his knees. He aggressively pressed his daughter on the opposing team.

He took an Academy Award dive against the smallest rug-rat on the court. He dribbled around a pack of four kids scrambling to steal the ball. He stole a pass, dunked, and then taunted the befuddled kid by screaming "woosh, woosh," in his face.

The engaging smile was locked in continuously, Armstrong's "permagrin" injecting laughter and loveable mayhem on the gymnasium floor.

It was tiring to watch, let alone write about.

This is the man Doc Rivers wants to "rest."

This is the man Doc Rivers should clone, hoping to draw the same frenetic energy from other 11 guys who would become better players if infused with Darrell's natural high.

OK, so he cheats. Armstrong admits he is juiced, though the artificial sweetener in his game is Starbucks, not steroids. Although Armstrong is a coffee junkie, it's mostly his competitive fire that gets him through 82 nights in the tedious NBA regular-season.

Rivers wants to scale back last year's minutes-per-game (33.3) a bit to rest Armstrong's just-turned-34 legs. Armstrong was the only Orlando Magic player you'll find in all 82 regular-season box scores. He started 79 games.

"I don't feel like an old man," Armstrong said, "but I definitely think this is going to save me a little bit."

Rivers wants to once again bring in Armstrong off the bench to kick-start the Magic with his heart and hustle. This has worked before. In 1998-99, Armstrong was voted the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player, a first in league history.

There isn't much to improve upon anymore, but no reason why Armstrong doesn't immediately become a lock to snatch the Sixth Man mantle once again.

"I love it. I love it," he said before squirming away to play with the rug rats. "It doesn't bother me coming off the bench.

"It doesn't matter if you start or come off the bench, you've got to produce. When I get the opportunity to get out on the floor, that's my chance to get the crowd involved, my teammates involved, run up and down and push that ball back and change the tempo of the game. It's going to be fun once again."

We do caution this is a summer plan, which doesn't coincide with David Stern's pocket calendar of when things really matter.

This all goes bust if Grant Hill's left ankle loses its grip and all the screws come loose in the Magic's depth chart, forcing Armstrong to start at point guard again.

But little pinkie toes crossed, the Magic will once again have "Flash" back in their lineup, his sweat masking any coffee stains on the uniform.

For anyone who assumes this is a demotion, insulting to the captain of the team now in his eighth season in Orlando, we have this to say to you:

Give it a rest.
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