Do you believe in magic? Though only about two decades old, the Orlando Magic have already made 10 appearances in the NBA playoffs, won three division crowns, a pair of trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and one trip to the NBA Finals. Next on the team’s wish list is their franchise’s first NBA Championship.
What is magical about Orlando’s name? After a “name the team” contest, the three finalists were:
o The Juice
o The Magic
o The Tropics
The franchise chose “The Magic,” which alludes to Orlando’s top attraction: The Walt Disney World Resort. As the largest and most visited resort on Earth, it is indeed magical for both the children and adults who visit it.
After a four-year grassroots effort, the Orlando Magic began an NBA expansion team during the 1989-1990 season. Unfortunately, their first season in the league was less than magical. The New Jersey Nets trapped the Magic in a 118-110 loss, during the franchise opener. Unfortunately, the Magic’s first NBA season was also disappointing, at 18-64.
However, the Magic had a magical year just five years after the entering the NBA. They had added Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal (Center), and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway (Guard) to their roster, making them true contenders in the NBA. In fact, Orlando finished the 1994-1995 season with an outstanding record of 57-25.
In their mere second trip to the playoffs, the Magic made opponents disappear into thin air. They would crush the Boston Celtics (3-1), outplay Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls (4-2), and nip the Indiana Pacers (4-3). Nevertheless, in the NBA Finals the Orlando seemed to run out of magic. In Game 1, the Houston Rockets knotted up the score with a buzzer-beater shot, and eventually won in overtime. They won the NBA Championship by sweeping the Orlando Magic (4-0).
During the next season (1995-1996), the Orlando Magic earned a spectacular 60-22 regular season record, heading into the playoffs. Orlando steamrolled the Detroit Pistons (3-0), and then the Atlanta Hawks (4-1). However, Michael Jordan and the Bulls would avenge their Eastern Conference Championship loss to the Magic, during the previous year. This time, they trampled the Magic (4-0).
In about two decades, the Orlando Magic’s rosters have included some of the biggest all-stars in the NBA, including:
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway
Hardaway has been in four All-Star games and on three All-NBA teams.
Grant Hill (2000-2007)
Hill was the 1995 NBA co-“Rookie of the Year,” and has been in seven NBA All-Star games.
Howard has played in two NBA All-Star games, and was the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Champion.
Grady has been in seven NBA All-Star games and has earned two NBA scoring titles
Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal
Shaq has won four NBA Championships, and has been in 14 All-Star games.
Although they are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Orlando Magic has already advanced deep into the NBA finals. Use Orlando Magic merchandise to cheer on the team as it strives to make an NBA Finals trophy appear!