The Orlando Magic is a professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and are currently coached by Stan Van Gundy. The franchise was founded in 1989 as an expansion franchise and has had such notable NBA stars as Shaquille O'Neal, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady throughout its young history. The franchise has also been in the playoffs for more than half of their existence (10 playoff appearances in 19 years). Currently, the Orlando Magic play in Amway Arena, and is the only major professional sports franchise in the city of Orlando.
The Magic hired Matt Guokas as the team's first coach, who helped the Magic select twelve players in the NBA Expansion Draft on June 15, 1989. On June 27, 1989, the Magic chose Nick Anderson with the 11th pick in the first round, who became the first draft pick of the franchise. The first game the Magic played on November 4, 1989, at the Orlando Arena (O-Rena) against the visiting New Jersey Nets, who won 111- 106 in a hard-fought game. The Magic's first victory came two days later, as the Magic defeated the New York Knicks 118–110 in Orlando. The inaugural team compiled a record of 18–64 with players including Reggie Theus, Scott Skiles, Terry Catledge, Sam Vincent, Otis Smith, and Jerry Reynolds.
In the 1990 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Dennis Scott with the fourth overall pick. On December 30, 1990, Scott Skiles racked up 30 assists in the 155-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets, breaking Kevin Porter's NBA single-game assists record (29). Skiles was named the NBA's Most Improved Player at the end of the season, as the Magic heralded the NBA's most improved record that season. Forward Dennis Scott set a team mark with 125 three-point field goals for the season, the best long-distance production by a rookie in NBA history. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Despite a 31–51 record, there were 40 sellouts out of 41 home games.
On September 19, 1991, the DeVos family purchased the franchise for $85 million and the family head Richard DeVos became the owner of the franchise. The 1991-92 season was disappointing for the Magic as various players missed games with injuries. Dennis Scott played only 18 games, Nick Anderson missed 22 games, Stanley Roberts, Jerry Reynolds, Bison Dele, Sam Vincent and Otis Smith all missed at least 27 games each. With a shortage of healthy players the team struggled through a 17-game losing streak and finished with a 21-61 record. The Magic still managed to have all 41 home games soldout.
Despite barely missing out on the playoffs and thereby receiving the least chance of gaining the top draft pick with only one ball in the lottery machine, the Magic won the first pick in the 1993 NBA Draft Lottery. Prior to the draft, Guokas stepped down as head coach, and Brian Hill was promoted to become the Magic's second head coach. In the draft, the Magic selected Chris Webber, but traded him to the Golden State Warriors for the number three pick, guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and three future first-round draft picks. With the combination of O'Neal and Hardaway, the Magic became a dominant team in the NBA, compiling the first 50 win season in franchise history with a 50–32 record. The Magic were in the playoffs for the first time, ranked the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference; however, the underdog Pacers team swept the Magic 3–0 in the first round, thus ending the Magic's season.
In the 1994-95 season, the Magic's sixth season, an All-Star forward Horace Grant was acquired as a free agent from the Chicago Bulls. Orlando Magic compiled a 57–25 record, best in the East and winning the Atlantic Division title, becoming the second-fastest team to advance to the NBA Finals in league history. In the playoffs, the Magic defeated the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers, advancing to the NBA Finals. The Houston Rockets, though, ended Orlando's dream of a championship by sweeping Orlando 4–0 in the Finals to take the crown.
In the 1995-96 season, the Magic again were near the top of the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division with a 60–22 record, led by O'Neal and Hardaway; however, the Magic were seeded number two, behind the NBA all-time best 72-10 record of the Chicago Bulls. In the meantime, General Manager Pat Williams was promoted to Senior Executive Vice President and replaced by the Vice President of Basketball Operations John Gabriel on April 29, 1996. In the playoffs, after the Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando met the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals. The combination of Jordan, Scottie Pippen and rebounder Dennis Rodman was too much for the Magic, and Orlando was swept 4-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.
In the offseason, O'Neal left as a free agent to the Los Angeles Lakers, dealing a huge blow to the Magic franchise. In the middle of the season, though, urged by player discontent, management fired coach Brian Hill and named Richie Adubato as interim coach for the rest of the season. Under Adubato, the Magic went on a 21-12 streak to compile a 45–37 record, led by Hardaway, Darrell Armstrong, the team's emotional leader, and Rony Seikaly acquired in a trade with Golden State. In the playoffs, the Magic came close to stunning the heavily favored Miami Heat in the first round, extending the series to a decisive game five, even after losing the first two games.
The Magic then hired Chuck Daly to be head coach for the 1997-98 season. In addition, Hall of Famer Julius Erving joined the Magic's front office, giving Orlando immense hope for a successful season. However, the season was hampered by injuries, as Hardaway sat out the majority of the season. Anderson, combined with newly acquired free agent Bo Outlaw, led the team to a respectable 41–41 record, just out of reach of the NBA playoffs. In addition, Rony Seikaly was traded during the season to the New Jersey Nets for three role players and a future draft pick.
In 1998-99, with the acquisition of Matt Harpring and Michael Doleac and a healthy Hardaway and Anderson, the Magic tied for the Eastern Conference's best record in the lockout-shortened season, 33–17. Armstrong again led the team emotionally, winning the NBA's Sixth-Man and Most Improved Player awards. In addition, Orlando also acquired NBA great Dominique Wilkins, along with brother Gerald, who were past their primes but were both still very good. In the playoffs the Magic were seeded number 3 because of tiebreakers and faced the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers, led by Allen Iverson, upset the Magic 3–1 in the first round.
In 1999, the Magic, under General Manager John Gabriel, who was later named Executive of the Year, hired rookie-coach Doc Rivers. Gabriel dismantled the previous team trading their only remaining superstar Anfernee Hardaway to the Phoenix Suns for Danny Manning (who never donned a Magic uniform), Pat Garrity and two future draft picks. The Magic were then a team composed of virtually all no name players and little experience which included team captain Armstrong, Bo Outlaw and a young Ben Wallace, along with Coach Rivers led the Magic to a 41–41 record, barely missing out on the playoffs. At the end of the season Rivers was named Coach of the Year by the NBA. This year was characterized by the slogan "Heart and Hustle", as the team was known for its hard-working style.
In the following offseason, Gabriel, with millions of cleared salary cap space, attempted to lure three of the NBA's most prized free agents: Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady. Despite Duncan opting to remain with the San Antonio Spurs, the Magic acquired Hill, a perennial All-Star, and McGrady. With McGrady and Hill together, the Magic were expected to be a force in the East. However, Hill was limited to 4 games because of an ankle injury. McGrady blossomed into a star during this season, becoming one of the NBA's top scorers. With the addition of Mike Miller from the draft, the Magic compiled a 43–39 record, which included a nine-game winning streak, and once again made the playoffs. McGrady made the All-Star Team and All-NBA 2nd Team Miller won the Rookie of the Year that season. In the playoffs, the Magic faced an upstart Milwaukee Bucks team in the first round. The Bucks won the series 3–1.
In 2001-02, McGrady led the Magic to a winning record of 44–38. However, Hill was still severely limited by his ankle injury and did not play for the vast majority of the season. McGrady, combined with Armstrong, Miller, and 3-point sharpshooter Pat Garrity, formed the core of the team that season. McGrady made the All-NBA for the first time and made his second consecutive All-Star Team. However, the Magic were defeated 3–1 in the first round of the playoffs by the Charlotte Hornets led by Baron Davis (the team has since relocated, becoming the New Orleans Hornets).
In 2002-03, with the acquisitions of Gordan Giricek and Drew Gooden from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Mike Miller and Ryan Humphrey, McGrady once again led the Magic to a 42–40 record. McGrady led the league in scoring with 32.1 ppg, made his second All-NBA 1st Team, and his 3rd All-Star Team. Despite still not having Hill due to injury, the Magic entered the playoffs for the third straight year. However, after taking a 3–1 lead in the best-of-seven first round series, the Magic faltered and fell to the Detroit Pistons 4–3 in the now infamous heartbreaker in which McGrady was quoted "It's nice to finally be in the second round" after still needing one more win to advance.
The Magic's 15th season in 2003-04 proved to be one of its toughest ever. Even with the acquisition of veteran free agents Tyronn Lue and Juwan Howard, the Magic struggled early. After winning its first game, the Magic lost 19 consecutive games, setting a franchise record. The Magic finished with a disappointing 21–61 record, the worst in the NBA. Despite this, McGrady led the league in scoring with 28.0 ppg, made the All-NBA 2nd Team and his 4th consecutive All-Star Team. In the middle of the 19-game losing streak, coach Doc Rivers was fired, and assistant Johnny Davis was promoted. In addition, general manager Gabriel was replaced by John Weisbrod.
In the offseason, Weisbrod completely dismantled the team. Though he kept Davis as coach, he shook up the player roster, only keeping a few of the players from last season. The most significant trade was that of Tracy McGrady. McGrady, discontent with the Magic, wished to move on; Weisbrod accused McGrady of "slacking off" and not attending practices (McGrady later admitted that he did not give 100% percent during the 2003-2004 season and he wanted the team to bring him some help, he never wanted to leave Orlando). The Magic traded McGrady along with Reece Gaines, Tyronn Lue, and Juwan Howard to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis, Kelvin Cato, and Cuttino Mobley. In addition, the Magic acquired center Tony Battie and two second-round draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Drew Gooden, Steven Hunter, and the draft rights to Anderson Varejao. The Magic then signed free agent Hedo Turkoglu. With the number one draft pick, the Magic selected high-school phenom Dwight Howard and traded for point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson, who most scouts speculated to be a top-10 pick, fell to the 20th pick, and the Magic traded a future first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets for Nelson.
After a promising 13–6 start, the Magic began to fall apart. First, Weisbrod traded Mobley for Doug Christie from the Sacramento Kings. Christie, because of his emotional ties to the Kings, at first refused to play for the Magic. Later on, Christie claimed he had bone spurs and was placed on the injured list after playing only a few games for the Magic. Near the end of the season, with a playoff-push faltering, Weisbrod fired Davis after leading Davis to believe he was going to be the team's head coach for the entire 2004-05 NBA season. He then promoted Chris Jent to interim head coach.
Throughout the season, bolstered by Hill's return, the Magic played spectacularly, defeating top NBA teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and the Detroit Pistons. However, led by the erratic play of Francis, the Magic also lost to league bottom-feeders, such as the expansion Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks. However, Howard showed great promise, becoming one of the few players to average a double-double. Howard was a consistent rebounder and scorer, becoming the first rookie to start and play all 82 games in a season. In addition, Nelson, after a slow start, developed into a talented player, taking over the starting point guard position. Hill also returned and averaged 19 points a game. Hill was chosen an All-Star starter by NBA fans for the 2005 All-Star Game, and Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson were named to the All-Rookie first and second teams, respectfully. Howard was a unanimous selection.
The Magic finished the season with a 36–46 record, disappointing after a strong start. Their playoff push was hampered by injuries in the last quarter of the season: a season-ending broken wrist for sixth man Hedo Turkoglu, a shin injury to Grant Hill, a rib cage injury to Nelson, and a three-game suspension to Francis for allegedly kicking a photographer. In the end, the Magic ended a few games out of the playoffs.
On May 23, however, the Magic's plans were disrupted by the abrupt resignation of General Manager and Chief Operating Officer John Weisbrod. In addition, the Magic announced the following day that Brian Hill, the coach who led the Magic to the NBA Finals under O'Neal and Hardaway, would return as head coach.
The Magic drafted Spaniard Fran Vazquez with the 11th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. On July 28, Vazquez stunned the team after announcing that he will remain in Spain to play for Akasvayu Girona, getting ridiculed by media after he was quoted that the decision to stay was made by his girlfriend.
Owner Rich DeVos announced on October 21 that he was transferring ownership to his children, with the official owner role moving to son-in-law and team President Bob Vander Weide. The transfer was supposed to be complete by the end of the year.
The 2005-06 season opened with high hopes for the Magic despite not being able to add first round draft pick Vasquez. Grant Hill was supposedly finally healed from his multiple ankle surgeries. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson showed excellent progress during summer-league play. Kelvin Cato was in shape for training camp. Second round draft pick Travis Diener showed excellent shooting and decision making during the summer. And the free agent signing of Keyon Dooling showed that the club was going to continue making progress.
Then the trouble began. Grant Hill, despite his ankle apparently being healed, suffered a painful sports hernia injury that would hamper his play throughout the entire season. After playing in three preseaon games, he underwent surgery to correct the hernia and would not appear during the regular season until mid-December, to which he lasted a month before attempting to make another comeback in February and early March, however only playing sporadically. Then a foot injury to Nelson forced him to sit out over a month.
Then rays of hope came shining down on the season. On February 15 the Magic announced that they had acquired Darko Miličić and Carlos Arroyo from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Kelvin Cato and a 2007 top-five protected first-round draft pick. One week later on February 22 Orlando announced that they had traded Steve Francis away to the New York Knicks in exchange for Anfernee Hardaway (whom they waived two days later) and Trevor Ariza. With a set starting rotation of Battie, Howard, Turkoglu, DeShawn Stevenson, and Nelson, the Magic mounted a surprising run at the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, including an 8-game winning streak and twelve consecutive home wins. The streak included wins against NBA powerhouses Detroit, San Antonio, Dallas and Miami, as well as a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in which Howard recorded 28 points and a career-high 26 rebounds. Unfortunately, not only did a win by the Chicago Bulls over the Miami Heat on April 16 eliminate the Magic from playoff contention, but the Bulls also ended both Magic winning streaks with a 116–112 overtime victory in Orlando on April 17. However, with a nucleus of young talented players and plenty of salary cap flexibility, the future looks bright for the Magic heading into the 2006-2007 season.
With the 11th pick in the NBA Draft the magic took the former Duke star J. J. Redick. Even with the fan support to get him playing time he averaged just over 11 minutes a game. After beginning the season strong with a 13–4 record, the Orlando Magic began to suffer in the standings as the result of multiple losses, due in large part to the injuries of Tony Battie, Trevor Ariza, Keyon Dooling, and Grant Hill. The Magic were also hampered with the sporadic play of many of their young stars, who on multiple occasions showed their propensity for streaky shooting and the team's lack of a solid scoring two-guard. Despite the team's poor play, Dwight Howard continued to develop and blossom in his third year in the league, culminating in his first selection to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, the 1st Magic All-Star since McGrady. The final few weeks of the season saw the Magic build momentum and confidence with an impressive late push towards the Playoffs. On April 15, 2007, with an 88–86 victory over the Boston Celtics, the Magic secured its first berth in the NBA Playoffs since 2003 by locking up the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. This marked the first time that the team had made the playoffs while posting a losing record. Nevertheless, their Playoff run ended on April 28, 2007 after they were swept in the first round by first seeded Detroit Pistons whose experience, veteran leadership and ability to consistently make the clutch basket proved far too much for the undermanned and overwhelmed Magic to overcome. It was announced on May 23, 2007, that Brian Hill had been fired as head coach of the Magic.
On June 1, 2007, Billy Donovan was named the new head coach of the Magic, agreeing to a 5-year, $27.5 million deal with the team. Donovan had previously led the University of Florida basketball team to back to back NCAA National Championships in 2006 and 2007. However, on June 3, 2007, Donovan decided to return to the Gators (according to ESPN's Andy Katz). The Magic can decide whether or not to release his contract as early as the 4th, even though he has been under contract for only two days. On June 5, 2007, multiple sources reported that Donovan and the Magic have agreed upon a non-compete clause, requiring Donovan to refrain from coaching in the NBA for five years as one of the terms of his release from the contract. The clause would address Orlando's concerns that Donovan could accept another NBA job in the near future. Also on June 5, the Magic made a formal offer to former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy to become the head coach. On June 6, 2007, the Magic released Donovan from his contract. According to ESPN and the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic have signed Stan Van Gundy as the new head coach. The deal is reportedly for 4 years, $16 million.
On July 2, 2007 it was reported on an Orlando television station that Rashard Lewis agreed to a 5-year, $75 million deal with the Orlando Magic. He ultimately went to the Magic on July 11 in a "sign and trade" with the Seattle SuperSonics, who got a mid-level salary cap exemption and a 2008 second-round draft pick in exchange. Lewis signed a six-year league-maximum contract believed to be worth over $110 million.
The Magic started the 2007-08 NBA Season with an impressive 16–4 record in their first 20 games, which included wins over the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Through the next few months, the Magic were not so successful, splitting their next 36 games with 18 wins and 18 losses.
At the start of March, the Magic seemed to pick up speed again, finishing the month with 10 wins, the first time since November that they won 10 or more in a month. The Magic clinched the Southeast Division title when the Washington Wizards were routed at Utah 129-87 on March 31, 2008. It was the Magic's third division title, but only their first since 1995-96 season, as well as their first since the Southeast Division was formed. They also won their 50th game against the Chicago Bulls on April 13, which had not happened since the 1995-96 season. The Magic finished the regular season 52–30, their best season since 1995-96. With the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, they were matched up in their first round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. The Magic had home court advantage for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
On April 28, 2008, at Amway Arena, the Magic eliminated the Raptors with a 4-1 series victory in the first round. It was the first playoff series victory for the Magic in 12 years after 6 straight first round exits. The run of success didn't last long as they fell 4-1 to the experienced Detroit Pistons in the second round. With the Magic already down in the series, controversy erupted after the Pistons' Game 2 victory. At the conclusion of the 3rd quarter, Chauncey Billups of the Pistons made a three point shot giving the Pistons a three point lead. However, the clock had stopped just as the play began. NBA rules prohibit officials from using instant replay or any timing device to determine how much time has elapsed when a clock malfunctions, nor is a replay allowed to be viewed from the time of the malfunction to when the play ends, when the game clock has not expired. Because of the rule, the officials then estimated that the play took 4.6 seconds, and because there were 5.1 seconds remaining when play began, the field goal was allowed to be counted. The NBA later admitted that the play actually took 5.7 seconds and the basket in question should not have counted. The Pistons went on to win Game 2. The Magic were able to win Game 3, with the Pistons' Chauncey Billups out for most of the game with an injury, but were unable to take advantage of his absence in Games 4 and 5 and defeat the Pistons, which ended the Magic's playoff run in 2008.
Amway Arena opened in 1989 and has served as home to the Orlando Magic since their inception. It was originally known as the Orlando Arena, or the "O-Rena", during its first ten years. In 1999, TD Waterhouse purchased the naming rights and named the venue the TD Waterhouse Centre. In December 2006, the naming rights were purchased by Amway for four years. It is also home of the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators, the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League, and various sporting and entertainment events. Amway Arena is one of "The Orlando Venues" owned and operated by the City of Orlando. The other facilities include the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, Tinker Field, the Florida Citrus Bowl, Harry P. Leu Gardens and Mennello Museum.
The Magic will be contributing $114 million in cash and up-front lease payments and guaranteeing $100 million of the bonds to be used to pay for the facility. It is part of the "Triple Crown For Downtown", a $1.05-billion plan to redo the Orlando Centroplex with a new arena, a new $375-million performing arts center, and a $175-million expansion of the Citrus Bowl. The Magic are anticipating that it will be completed prior to the 2010-2011 regular season opener. City officials said once the new arena is complete, the Amway Arena probably will be torn down.
NBA Commissioner David Stern promised Orlando would host an All Star Weekend once the arena is built. He cited the city's agreeable year-round climate, the presence of theme parks and other tourist destinations, and an abundant supply of hotels.
The Magic participated in the NBA's "Hardwood Classics" campaign in 2003, debuting the retro black away jerseys from 1989 during Christmas Day. It was a little unusual to call the uniform a "retro" since the Magic wore them as recently as 1997-1998, however they have already had three jersey designs in only 19 seasons of play. The following season, they wore the 1994-95 blue alternates for "Hardwood Classics" and in 2005-06, they wore the home pinstriped jerseys from the inaugural year. In 2006-07, the Magic wore the black away retro jerseys again for "Hardwood Classics."
Up until the current uniform revision, Bo Outlaw was the only Magic player to have worn all of the Magic jersey designs, and during 2005-2006 "Hardwood Classics," he was the only player on the roster to wear the home pinstriped jersey when it was still the current uniform, having joined the team in 1997 (last season of the pinstripes.) He repeated the same feat in 2006, wearing the black pinstriped jersey.
|Name||Years||Won||Lost||Win %||Games||Playoff Appearances||Playoff Seasons|
|Brian Hill||1993–97||191||104||.651||295||3||1993-94; 94-95; 95-96|
|Doc Rivers||1999–2003||171||168||.504||339||3||2000-01; 01-02; 02-03|
|Stan Van Gundy||2007–present||52||30||.634||82||1||2007-08|
|19-year Total||1989–Present||752||774||.493||1526||10||1993-97, 1998-99, 2000-03, 2006-07, 2007-08|
There is a controversy with moving broadcasts to FSN Florida since Orlando's largest cable provider, Bright House Networks, does not carry the network. Pressure is increasing for the cable provider to pick up FSN Florida in time for the 2007-08 NBA season. Since there is still no deal in place for cable companies in major cities such as Orlando and Jacksonville, it is unknown whether the FSN Florida broadcasts will continue into the 2008-09 season.
Joey Colon and Ramon Rivas do Spanish-language commentary on AM 1030 WONQ "La Grande" in Orlando.