June 10, 2009
Forget the NBA Finals record 63% shooting mark. The Magic's Game 3 victory was all because of Gina.
Yes, Orlando improved to 6-0 in the playoffs — 7-0 on the season — when seven-year-old Gina Marie Incandela sings the "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Amway Arena. She belted another one of her stirring renditions on Tuesday night. The kids got pipes, I tell ya.
As we pointed out a few weeks ago: Gina was diagnosed at an early age with PDD NOS, a form of autism. Her parents, fearing their little girl would never be able to speak, enrolled her at the University of Central Florida, where instructors used music to help her speech. Shortly thereafter, she took a liking to LeAnn Rimes; when she heard Rimes' rendition of the national anthem, Gina mastered the tune.
Tuesday was her fifth straight appearance before a Magic home playoff game. She'll likely be asked to sing again before Thursday's Game 4 ... and between every single spin at Stan Van Gundy's favorite roulette table.