Photo: Fernando Medina, Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic were founded in 1989 by Jimmy Hewitt and Pat Williams, two men who believed in Orlando as a professional sports city. Since that year, Orlando has had many legends wearing blue-and-white pinstripes, they have had two NBA Finals appearances, and they’ve had their shares of ups-and-downs.
The Magic’s 25th Anniversary season was this season, and it was interesting to see all of the events the franchise had planned to
celebrate this anniversary. Everyone’s favorite thing was “Legends Night,” which they would have every so often. The Magic would honor a former legend at halftime of a game. They honored the likes of Dennis Scott, Tracy McGrady, Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Horace Grant, Grant Hill, and others. For fans of all ages, it was fun to see former players come back and hold up a portrait of themselves in front of a crowd they used to play in front of, as they all cheer and remember the good times they used to have together.
Also, to cap off all of the history, the franchise decided to put the first two members into their Hall-of-Fame, which were senior vice president and co-founder of the Magic, Pat Williams, as well as Magic legend Nick Anderson. These two men are two of the most beloved members in Orlando Magic history, and it’s only fitting that they be the first two members inducted into the Magic Hall-of-Fame.
But of course, aside from the historical celebrations of their twenty-five years in the NBA, the Magic also had to actually play basketball this season. Just like last year, they were still in a rebuilding session, and didn’t have a very great year. Orlando finished the season 23-59, having just three more wins than they did in the 2012-13 season. They finished with the third-worst record in the league, giving them a top three chance to get the number one overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, which is said to be one of the best draft classes in recent memory.
The “Silver Season,” as the Magic organization decided to call it, didn’t turn out the way everyone had hoped, especially after
drafting Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Victor Oladipo. Of course, even though the record doesn’t show it, the club made huge strides this season. Oladipo seemed very comfortable running the offense whenever Jameer Nelson was out, Arron Afflalo became the team’s leading scorer this year and decided to show up to every game, and Tobias Harris and the rest of the young crew grew as a team and gained experience, something which they were in dire need of.
Overall, it seems as if the Silver Season wasn’t all that bad for the Magic. The fans were still excited and the city of Orlando continued to talk about their only professional sports team. Even I visited Orlando for the first time to watch my first Magic game at the Amway Center (against the Celtics on January 19th, and the Magic won, 93-91) , and it was definitely a magical experience. Everything about the NBA’s best arena (the Amway Center) makes watching the Orlando Magic fun.
This Orlando Magic team will continue to get better, especially since they’re guaranteed two lottery picks in this year’s draft, and I could see them being back to old form here in the next year or two. So if you’re a Magic fan, like myself, just be patient. Your time is coming.
I decided to ask a few Magic fans what they thought about the 25th anniversary and what it meant to them. Here’s what some of them had to say:
- “I started going to games their first season, was at the first game ever in Orlando. This 25th anniversary made me look back at all those years and I’m blown away at how fast it went by.” ~rcognition on Reddit
- “I thought all the historical tie-ins were great. I’ve been a Magic fan as long as I can remember (I’m 23 so the Magic are a little older than I am) and it was nice to see the familiar faces I idolized as a kid being honored by the team. It was also a lot of fun to reminisce about the team’s past, and the different eras we’ve had over 25 seasons: Shaq & Penny, Heart & Hustle, the T-Mac era, the Dwight era, and of course, the present. Lot of great history for such a young team.
- It was a great year for Oladipo to come in. He’s our hope for the future, and he got to see just how much love and respect this city has for it’s team and players of the past. I’m looking forward to what the next 25 years have in store for the Orlando Magic! Hopefully a championship!” ~moshpitmentality on Reddit
- “I thought it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed getting to see a lot of focus on the Magic legends and getting to hear from them. My dad went to the first ever game and he raised me to be a huge fan, but only being 21 I missed out on some of the good years/don’t remember a lot so it was nice to see us bring some of those moments back in. It was a rough season as expected, but I’m excited for the future of the franchise.” ~Florida 321 on Reddit
- “[I loved it when] Penny [Hardaway] got honored. This organization shows you how a team can hit the jackpot, fall down, and rise back up again. Outside the losing, [Jacque] Vaughn’s rotations, and the vets messing up, I really did enjoy seeing the young guys fight.” ~@DaLlzMoBeta21
As you can see, there were a lot of Magic fans that loved the historical aspect of the Silver Season. They really enjoyed thinking about all of the good times this franchise has had, and most of them are excited for what the future holds. As for a few Orlando fans, so can describe the Magic’s twenty-five years in the NBA in just a few words, “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”
Hopefully, for the city of Orlando and it’s dedicated fans, this young group of guys can one day put on the white dress and be the bride, holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy, as they get to call a season a golden one, instead of silver.
~Victor Hensley (@Frezeal33)