The Orlando Magic are an American professional basketball team who are based in Orlando, Florida. The team competes as the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division in National Basketball Association. This franchise was established as an expansion franchise, and many of the notable players have played for this club throughout its short period.
In the year of 1985, Jim L. Hewitt, an Orlando businessman approached the general manager of Philadelphia 76ers Pat Williams to bring an NBA team to Orlando. By being very much intrigued with the idea, Pat Williams became the front man of the team by investing in them, and he left Philadelphia a year later. Thus, after a year the two were ready to go for a franchise, and they set a news conference to express their future intentions. At the same time both the owners decided to hold a contest to get names for their new franchise. With the highest number of requests to name the team as Magic, the owners decided to name it as so. But on September 19, 1991, the Devos family who are also the founders of Amway purchased the franchise for $85 million, and Richard Devos became the owner.
Matt Guokas was appointed as the team’s first coach who headed the team with respect and dignity. The very first game played by Orlando Magic was an exhibition game with Detroit Pistons, which the Magic won. Their first season game followed on October 13, 1989, against the visiting New Jersey Nets. In this hard fought game they got defeated by Nets by the score of 111-106. Their first win came after two days as they defeated New York Knicks by 118-110.
During the 1990 NBA Draft, the franchise selected Dennis Scott who spent most of his career with the Orlando Magic earning the nickname 3-D for his consistent ability to make long three-point field goal attempts. He set an NBA record for most 3 pointers made in a single game in the year 1996. He was honored by the Magic to remember the past players for their accomplishments. The team followed on a winning streak when the franchise selected the big man Shaquille O’ Neal in the 1992 draft. He won the Rookie of the Year 1992-93 and also led his team to the 1995 NBA finals. After O’Neal left, it was a dry period for the Magic, and that is when Penny Hardaway came to the rescue from 1993 to 99. He won the MVP Award, was named to the NBA All-rookie first team and also was the runner-up for Rookie of the year. During the 2000-04 seasons, Tracy McGrady was voted as the Most Improved player and later came 4th in the league’s MVP Award. Later, players like Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and J.J Redick made the team strike a few wins. Orlando Magic also won awards for non-players, of which John Gabriel was named for the Executive of the Year and the Coach Doc Rivers was named the Coach of the Year at the end of the 2000 season.
The Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat had a rivalry which was based on the fact that the two franchises were based in Florida in separate locations; this was famously known as the Sunshine State Rivalry. Another reason for their rivalry was contributed by the players from both teams such as Orlando’s Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway and Miami’s Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. It intensified in the past decade with the rising stardom of Dwyane Wade for Magic which softened between the teams when Dwyane departed from Magic to Los Angeles Lakers.