This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Orlando Magic basketball. The team itself will be celebrating with look backs at the team's stories history and recognition of the team's greatest players (Nick Anderson will be up next for his night Friday against the Celtics). Orlando Magic Daily loves celebrating Magic history (probably too much). And so each day this season, we will dig into Magic history a little bit and share the team's history.
Friday night, Arron Afflalo had a chance to tie the game late. Down by three points, Afflalo drove toward the corner and took an awkward falling away shot that, of course, went into the basket. It would have tied the game and given the Magic some new life late in the game against the Celtics.
Of course, Afflalo's feet were clearly over the 3-point line. That left the Magic down one and not enough time to scramble back after the Celtics free throws.
This was not the first time the Magic have had a game deicded by feet placement on the 3-point line.
Let me take you back to Opening Night 1996. Shaquille O'Neal was gone, but the Magic still had high hopes for a squad with Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Anderson leading the way. The future may not have been championship bright, but it was still bright. This team was still good.
In come the Washington Bullets. This spunky Bullets team frustrated the Magic all night and the game came down to a final play.
The ball found its way to Gerald Wilkins in the corner for a 3-pointer and he drained it. Only problem was his foot was on the line and the referees ruled it a two-point shot. There was no video replay to help out and the Orlando Arena crowd did not react kindly when they viewed the replay on the JumboTron.
From the Orlando Sentinel at the time:
It didn't help matters when a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Gerald Wilkins was ruled a two-pointer late in the fourth quarter as the Magic fell to the Washington Bullets, 96-92, at Orlando Arena.
The Bullets had to overcome an early 18-point deficit, and Chris Webber scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to send the Magic to their first loss in a home opener in six years.
The Magic trailed, 93-88, with 46.9 seconds remaining following back-to-back dunks by Webber and guard Calbert Cheaney.
Afflalo has company in Magic history with Wilkins now. Unfortunate company.