Magic Memories

Pat Williams'
Top 5 Franchise Memories

The Magic VP was the driving force in persuading the NBA to award the city a team.

1. The big announcement. “In April 1987, I was sitting at my desk in Orlando when the NBA announced that we had been awarded a franchise, and it was exhilarating. We'd worked so hard. We thought the NBA was only going to award franchises to one or two cities. But they gave them to all four that had applied–Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Minnesota. The only letdown is that Miami came into existence in 1988, and Orlando in 1989. But in retrospect, that was the best break, because it allowed us to bring the arena along properly, solidify our fan base and scout for our new team.’’

2. The purchase of the Magic by the DeVos family in August 1991. I first brought Rich DeVos into Orlando when we were looking at a Major League Baseball team, but it didn't work. Still, he was really caught up with Orlando. When the Magic came on the block he was the first in line, and it's been marvelous having them as owners.’’

3. The NBA Draft lotteries the Magic won in 1992, 1993 and 2004. “You can't describe the feeling when you see our logo turned over and know that we have the first overall pick. Of course, we used those picks to get Shaquille O'Neal, to trade for Penny Hardaway, and to get Dwight Howard. And in 2013, when we finished second in the lottery, it felt like we finished first because the player we would've taken first, Victor Oladipo, was there for us with the second pick. So we got him with a better contract and without the pressure of a No. 1. So I count that as another lottery win.’’

4. Making the NBA Finals in 1995. “We've had two chances to win an NBA Championship—that year and 2009—and just to get there is special, even though we're 1-8 in those two series. And although we got swept in the '95 Finals, we had such a young team with Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and bringing Horace Grant to that mix. We sensed we were going to knock on that door for a long time. And then Shaq left a year later.

5. The title run we had in 2009. That is a big part of what I call the Dwight Howard Era. Nothing was expected of us that year. But then we shocked everybody by knocking off Cleveland and Boston with all their stars. Game 2 could've easily gone our way and maybe changed that whole series. But Courtney Lee missed that alley-oop shot at the end.

— Peter Kerasotis


Rodney "Sid" Powell's
Player Memories

Powell, the Magic’s equipment manager and traveling secretary, has been with the team all of its 25 years.

 

1. Horace Grant. “He always needed new shoes every game and sometimes another new pair at halftime based on his first-half performance. He was also known to change his complete uniform if he had a bad first half. He would come in at halftime and even shower to start fresh for the second half.’’
2. Darrell Armstrong. “He had this crazy thing about drinking coffee with 10 sugars, and also having Hershey Kisses with it, before the game and at halftime. This was to give him a burst of energy prior to the 5-Hour Energy era.’’
3. Matt Harpring. “He had the sweatiest feet of any player I have ever worked with. His feet were so sweaty that his shoes were soaked after a game or practice, and I had to carry shoe dryers like hockey teams carry for hockey gloves to dry after each game. I would have a couple of pair of shoes in reserve because sometimes what he was wearing did not get dry enough for the next night or next day for a practice or another game.’’
4. Hair-raising. “Nowadays I have to travel with a blow dryer on the road and also provide one at home for players like Hedo Turkoglu and Nikola Vucevic, who need to blow dry their hair after coming out of the showers and before leaving the locker room.
5. What's in a name? “Another quirky thing players do is travel under alias names so that fans in each city cannot contact them at the hotels we stay in. I cannot reveal the names used by players, but usually they use names from actors, movie stars, musicians and even other professional athletes.’’

— Peter Kerasotis



 

The First Magic Team: Where Are They Now?

 

Nick Anderson: The Magic made the former University of Illinois shooting guard their first draft pick. Anderson then spent the first 10 of his 13 NBA seasons with the Magic, and was the franchise's all-time leading scorer before Dwight Howard supplanted him. He's now in his seventh season with the Magic organization as a community ambassador.
Reggie Theus: The popular guard with the movie star looks only played that inaugural season with the Magic. By then, Theus was a veteran player, having started his NBA career in 1978 with the Chicago Bulls, after coming out of UNLV, where he played for Jerry Tarkanian. He played one more season in the NBA, with the New Jersey Nets, and now ranks in the top 50 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Theus has had several pro and college coaching jobs. He currently is head basketball coach at Cal State Northridge.
Otis Smith: He was a starting small forward on the inaugural team and played for the Magic through the 1991-92 season. Smith then finished his playing career in Sweden. He returned to the Magic in the front office, and was the franchise's general manager from 2006-2012. These days he's enjoying retirement, which includes much time riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Terry Catledge: The Cat Man, as he was called, was a power forward who played for two NBA teams before coming to the Magic. He led the expansion team in scoring that first season, averaging 19.4 points per game, and played four seasons in Orlando, finishing his NBA career here. Afterward, he bounced around in several American and international leagues, playing in places like France, Greece and Argentina. Last anyone heard, Catledge lives near his hometown of Houston, Miss.
Scott Skiles: The scrappy and smart point guard came to the Magic after playing for Milwaukee and Indiana. He played five seasons for Orlando and in 1990 set an NBA single-game record with 30 assists. Skiles has been the head coach of Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee. He’s currently out of coaching and living in Central Florida.
Jerry "Ice" Reynolds: Reynolds' claim to fame is that he is credited with coining the phrase 24/7, after he was quoted in a [i]Sports Illustrated[r] article as saying that his jump shot was "good 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year." The small forward played four seasons for the Magic. He now coaches the Tampa Bay Christian Academy's boys' team.
Dave Corzine: One of the big disappointments for the Magic, and for Corzine, is that his career with the organization never got off the ground. The Magic acquired the center from the Chicago Bulls on draft night in 1989. But Corzine suffered a knee injury and played just six games. He is now at his alma mater, DePaul University, working in community relations and game administration.
Jeff Turner: Turner holds the distinction of being the Magic's first free-agent signee, coming to the organization in 1989 and playing seven seasons there at power forward. Before coming to the Magic, Turner played for the New Jersey Nets and was on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which was coached by Bobby Knight and won the gold medal. After his playing career, Turner coached Lake Highland Prep's boys' basketball for eight seasons, winning a state championship last year. He's now in his first season as the Magic's television color analyst, replacing Matt Guokas and working alongside David Steele.
Sam Vincent: The point guard came to the Magic after building a solid résumé with Boston, Seattle and Chicago. Vincent started in the Magic's first-ever regular-season game and played three seasons for the franchise. After finishing his playing career in Greece, Vincent took some time off before entering coaching, bouncing around in various American and international leagues. He was head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007-08. Vincent currently lives in Orlando and serves as an officer in the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
Mark Acres: Acres played power forward three seasons for the Magic, mostly as a backup, though he did play in 80 games (starting 50) in the franchise's first season. After finishing his playing career in Portugal, he segued into education. He now coaches and teaches at J.H. Hull Middle School in Torrance, Ca.
Sidney Green: Green was the Magic's first pick in the expansion draft, coming to the organization from the New York Knicks. He played for the Magic just one season before going to San Antonio and Charlotte. After his playing career, Green went into college coaching, where he spent 15 years, most recently as the head coach at Florida Atlantic University, where he spent six years (1999-2005). He's now a spokesperson for Organo Gold coffee. Green’s son Taurean, played on the University of Florida basketball teams that won national championships in 2006 and 2007.
Morlon Wiley: The point guard with the big smile holds the distinction of being officially the first player the Magic signed. Wiley played three seasons for Orlando before bouncing around the NBA, and with various minor league organizations. He was a Magic assistant coach for player development until he resigned during his third season in 2010.

Michael Ansley: A second-round draft pick, the strong forward played two seasons for the Magic before finishing his NBA career in 1992 with the Philadelphia 76ers. Ansley then had a long and somewhat lucrative career playing overseas – in Spain, Israel, Turkey and Poland – playing into his 40s. Last anyone heard, Ansley was coaching basketball in Poland.

 

— Peter Kerasotis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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