Taking a brief break from the current season, the Orlando Magic announced yesterday they will honor fan favorite Darrell Armstrong during the team’s Feb. 19 game against Dallas.
Armstrong joined the Magic during the 1995 season, and, while not playing very much in the their run to the Finals, he was front and center in the team’s celebration. Watch some highlights of the playoff run and you will see Armstrong in a suit celebrating with his new teammates. After playing in the CBA and other leagues before finally making the NBA, this was his chance.
Little did Magic fans know, Armstrong was quickly going to become an important cog for the team.
Armstrong’s hustle and energy (language warning on the link) quickly became infectious. Armstrong was well known for taking charges (I don’t think I even knew what a charge was until Armstrong), diving on the floor and being a great team leader.
I personally do not think it was a coincidence that the Magic fell from promising team to 21-61 and the worst record in the league when Armstrong left the team in 2003. Of course, then we would not have Dwight Howard.
Armstrong averaged 11.7 points per game, 5.1 assists per game and 1.65 steals per game during his time with the Magic. He is third in games played, eighth in points, third in assists and second in steals in franchise history. Clearly a lot of time with the Magic allowed Armstrong to make an imprint on Orlando’s record books.
It is no wonder Armstrong became a coach after he retired. Armstrong is currently an assistant coach with the Mavericks.
Next Friday’s ceremony to honor Armstrong will give him a more permanent face in the team’s history as part of its “Commitment to the Past.” He joins Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and Scott Skiles among others to be honored. While this is not retiring his jersey (yet?), Armstrong will now have a permanent presence in the Amway Arena and, I would assume, the Amway Center.
The love for Armstrong Magic fans have has pushed him to the forefront of candidates for Orlando’s first retired jersey. This is probably the first step to seeing No. 10 hanging in the rafters.
It should be a good night and congratulations to Darrell.