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 (Tracy McGrady is due in town Friday for a night honoring him). 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.
Orlando Magic Greek
Let's go back to Halloween 1997.
It was a really rainy day that Halloween as the Magic opened up the 1998 season. They had a new coach in the form of Chuck Daly and a new executive in the form of Julius Erving. These two guys were the main marketing tools for this second season in the post-Shaquille O'Neal era.
Anfernee Hardaway was going to have another good season. Nothing could go wrong?
It was rainy that day. Maybe that was an omen. You had to cut your trick or treating short to get to the game on time if the rain did not chase you away from the yearly Halloween ritual anyway. If I remember correctly, the Magic's 105-99 loss to the Hawks was not much to write home about either.
It was an inauspicious start to the season.
Even L.C. Johnson of the Orlando Sentinel noted Anfernee Hardaway scored 31 points despite complaining of knee issues — he played in only 19 games that entire season. Rony Seikaly had 28 points and 11 rebounds.
The game was certainly a preview of a mediocre 41-41 season to come:
"Anytime that you have me and Rony scoring that many points and we lose, then, we're either not playing defense or the other guysaren't scoring many buckets," Hardaway said. "But we really didn't play any defense tonight. We played defense in spurts."
How bad was it? The Hawks did whatever they wished on the offensive end, shooting 56 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line.
That was not such a Happy Halloween memory. Maybe some Penny highlights will make you feel better.
Or Rony Seikaly? Do those exist? I guess not.