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"It's almost surreal," Jameer Nelson said of his career. At 31, he is six weeks older than his boss, Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan, who has remade the Magic in his own image. The team is young and filled with optimism.

Two seasons ago, Nelson and the Magic were entering the playoffs for the fifth straight year. He imagined they would be peaking around himself and Dwight Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy, who had led Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals and back to the conference finals in the following year. But then Howard lost his focus and the bottom fell out on their future. The lesson going forward is that the process of team-building is highly fragile.

"As an individual you have to cherish moments, you have to be in the moment right then and there," Nelson said. "You can't look forward, you have to be in that moment because you don't know what's going to happen. I was told by Keyon Dooling when you're on a good team to really cherish it, because you don't know. You don't know if you're going to be a championship contender again. You don't know if you're going to win 55, 65 games again. The most important thing is to live in that moment."

Nelson is nine games into his 10th NBA season. He could shut his eyes back to the recent past and think about teammates like Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Vince Carter, all older and more accomplished than him. But he didn't want to live in that past. Surrounding him in the locker room were Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless and rookie Victor Oladipo, all much younger than him.

"You think you have all the answers," Nelson said. "But in reality, you don't."
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