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January 04, 2011|By Shannon J. Owens

The Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Magic executive Lucas Boyce lives a story more inspiring than a winning streak

The story of the Orlando Magic’s six-game win streak and quick turnaround is pretty impressive — that is until you hear about the life story of Magic executive Lucas Boyce.  Boyce has one of the most unusual paths to the NBA fraternity. His trip started 31 years ago in Independence, Mo., where he was born to an 18-year-old prostitute. He was rescued by a loving, adoptive mother, Dorothy. He trekked to Washington, D.C., as a young adult where he had a chance encounter with former President George W. Bush. That led to private flights on Air Force One and many White House tours with Super Bowl and NBA champions. Another chance encounter eventually led Boyce to a front-office job with the Orlando Magic.

Some might consider his life a series of chance encounters, but Boyce calls it living proof to grace. This column is just a Cliffs Notes version of his incredible story. The book needed to tell it completely comes out next week. No kidding. Boyce’s 228-page story “Living Proof: From Foster Care to the White House and the NBA” will be published nationwide via Advantage Media Group starting Jan. 15.

NBA executives usually like to stay in the background, but Boyce and his life circumstances are anything but usual. “I am an eyewitness to God’s incredible grace and am thankful for the opportunity to share what I hope will be a story of encouragement and inspiration,” Boyce said. “It is my earnest hope that everyone who reads this book will come away believing that no matter the circumstance, they, too, can prove that when hard work, determination and grace meet opportunity … anything can happen.”

That’s not just a promotional tagline. That’s his life story, one that he has shared countless times with Central Florida youth during his three-year stint as the Orlando Magic’s Director of Multicultural Insights and Cause Marketing. Boyce tells those kids — many who come from similar backgrounds — about his early life struggles like being born with fetal alcohol syndrome, not knowing his father’s identity and flunking kindergarten. (That one usually gets the crowd’s attention.)

Then Boyce tells them about his fulfilling three lifelong dreams: working for the White House, flying on Air Force One and working for an NBA team.

While attending the University of Central Missouri, he landed an internship in Washington, D.C., in 2002. One day his boss had a cryptic message for then 22-year-old Boyce.

“Lucas, there’s gonna be somebody that is gonna call you and they’re going to ask you to do something and my advice to you is to say yes.”

He was asked to be a part of a photo opportunity that just so happened to include President George W. Bush. After the photo shoot, the two struck up a casual conversation about golf and life. There on the South Lawn of the White House, just feet away from the Oval Office, Bush talked to Boyce about the swingset his girls played on during his father’s tenure as president.

There they were, just George and Lucas, having a chat.

As told to Boyce from his former boss, the conversation left such an impression on the president that he called Boyce’s boss and inquired about him. Upon learning about his background, Bush asked that they get him involved with the White House full-time.

After a series of interviews, Boyce was hired on full-time after graduating.

“I share that story with kids because you never know who’s watching or who can help you get where you want to go,” Boyce said.

A chance encounter. An open door. A dream realized.

Now that’s Magic.