If it weren’t for a couple of dedicated businessmen based out of Orlando, Florida in 1985, the professional basketball team now known as the Orlando Magic wouldn’t even exist. The Orlando Magic are known for having previous star-studded rosters, though unable to walk away from an NBA season with a championship ring. Now, it’s time to learn about the complicated history of the Orlando Magic.
The Beginning Years
Back in 1985, an Orlando businessman by the name Jim L. Hewitt linked up with the then-General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, Pat Williams. The two planned to bring professional sports to the Orlando area in the form of an NBA franchise. There was a good amount of pushback, as another Florida basketball team, the Miami Heat, were also trying to make an entry into the NBA. For a cool $32.5 million, the Orlando Magic were born.
The team owners allowed the locals in Orlando to select the team name. The winning name, the Magic, was inspired by the nearby Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom. Under the leadership of head coach Matt Guokas, the brand new Orlando Magic captured a surprising victory over the 1988 Champions, the Detroit Pistons, in an exhibition game. However, the team ended its first season with a less than impressive 18-64 record.
By the 1990 season, the team had returned with a vengeance with the assistance of Most Improved Player, Scott Skiles, and All-Rookie First-Team nominee, Dennis Scott. The following year, the Orlando Magic were sold to Amway for a whopping $85 million, though the team posted another poor season record (21-61) as a result of persistent injuries. Yet, the team took a surprising turn for the better thanks to the number one draft pick in 1992.
When 7-1 Shaquille O’Neal hit the court with the Orlando Magic, the team was able to clinch an unexpected 41-41 record. He was then named an All-Star, a feat last achieved by Michael Jordan. The addition of Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway joined with a thriving Shaq led the team to a 50-32 record, paving the pathway for success. The team earned its first division championship in 1995 and made it to the NBA finals before falling to the Houston Rockets in just 4 games.
Unfortunately, the team saw a stream of inconsistency due to the constant hiring and firing of coaches. The inexperienced Orlando Magic, led by Coach Doc Rivers in 1999, helped to prove that hard work and dedication could beat years of experience on the court. That all changed during the 2000 draft, where the Orlando Magic brought on veteran players Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill.
The logos for the Orlando Magic have only changed slightly since the team was established in the 1989 season.
1988 - 1998
Between 1988 and 1998, Magic players sported a mostly black jersey with white vertical pinstripes. The name “Orlando” is in white lettering with blue borders and replaces the “A” with a grey star, just like the logo at the time.
1998 - 2003
Between 1998 and 2003, the players wore a mostly white jersey that mimicked the logo at the time. There are faint grey stars in the background of the jersey and “Magic” is now on the front instead of “Orlando.”
2003 - 2008
From 2003 to 2008, the Magic wore a mostly white jersey with a neat blue lettering and blue thin stripes down the side.
2008 - 2017
This Magic jersey was created in 2008 and is mostly blue with thin grey pinstripes aligned vertically. The name on the front is again “Orlando,” with all lettering being white and lined with a black border.
2017 - Today
The latest magic jersey is slightly altered with curved lines on the shoulder.