The Amway Center is set to open its doors to basketball on October 10 for a preseason game between the Magic and the Hornets. The regular season starts October 28 as Orlando takes on Washington. With the countdown on to the premier of the Magic’s new building, I thought it would be good to give Orlando Arena a proper send-off and recount some of the best memories from our old home.
We are t-minus 77 days until regular season basketball in the Amway Center!
Sure it was just a preseason game. But don’t tell the people of Orlando that. On an October night, the Magic opened their preseason against the defending champion Pistons. It was the first time the city got to see its team in those wonderful pinstriped uniforms.
It might have been a preseason game, but the O-Rena was rocking like a playoff game. And it might as well have been. No way the experienced Pistons, which still featured Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars and coach Chuck Daly, were taking the game as serious as the Magic, led by young guns Otis Smith, Jerry “Ice” Reynolds and Nick Anderson.
The fact it was a preseason game means there is very little on the Internet for fans to reminisce about this game. But if you hear the radio call from the final moments (it was on the Magic’s Greatest Hits CD) you can feel the energy from the 118-107 win.
Orlando won a paltry 18 games during that expansion season, but it was moments like this one that turned Orlando (albeit slowly) into a basketball town. Orlando residents were hungry for a pro sports team as marked by the fantastic attendance seen at the Orlando Arena that first year. The team was 12th in the league in attendance that first year according to Basketball-Reference.com.
It took two attempts for the Magic to win their first regular season game in the O-Rena, a 118-110 triumph over the Knicks. It was clear after these two games Orlando was hungry for basketball and the Orlando Arena was going to be a tough place to win.
We will be reminiscing about Orlando Arena for the rest of the summer. Have a memory you would like remembered? Tweet us with your memories @OMagicDaily, comment to this article or contact us through the Web site.