Indiana fans crash Sentinel’s Magic poll

Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel unveiled its tournament bracket to determine the greatest player in Magic history earlier this week.

There was plenty of controversy over seedings and exclusions — no Rashard Lewis being chief among them — but ultimately the exercise is to determine the best player in team history. That answer will be difficult, but getting to a final four or five should not be hard.

The elite of the elite in Magic history are pretty simple to figure (in no particular order): Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady, Anfernee Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Darrell Armstrong (maybe) and Dennis Scott. Some guys are a little more obvious than others. The four one seeds the Sentinel selected are widely considered the four best players in the team's history.

No one would argue that O'Neal, Howard, Hardaway and McGrady should be the bracket's final four.

When you open things up to fans, however, screwy things can happen. Especially when you get Indiana Hoosiers fans involved.

The Hoosiers have an incredibly passionate fan base. We should have known this when a Magic season ticket holder showed up in the Hoosiers' famed candy-striped pants at Summer League and started a round of Indiana chants after Victor Oladipo's game-winning shot against the 76ers.

Indiana fan site BTownBanners caught wind that Oladipo was in the 64-player bracket and rallied up Hoosiers fans to go vote Oladipo in a 16-seed over 1-seed upset that would send Hardaway home. And it worked, giving Oladipo a more than 200-vote lead.

When the original post was sent, Oladipo trailed Hardaway 486-146 votes. No need to worry there at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 9. Twelve hours later, the Hoosiers fans had made their power felt:

And Oladipo's lead would grow to more than 200 votes by 2 p.m. Thursday.

As of, about 11 a.m. on Friday, Hardaway had closed the gap to 87 votes. Voting closes Sunday.

To vote for Penny Hardaway and prevent this complete embarrassment to our fan base, go to the Orlando Sentinel's Web site and vote for Hardaway (and participate in the other parts of the tournament).

If you are unsure whether Hardaway should defeat Oladipo, consider these points:

1. Oladipo has not played any games in a Magic uniform yet.

2. Hardaway averaged 19.0 points per game and 6.3 assists per game in six years with the Magic, including the Finals trip in 1995 and his masterful first round performance against the Heat in 1997.


3. Hardaway was a four-time All Star, starting each time.

4. In college, Hardaway averaged 20.0 points per game, 5.9 assists per game and 7.7 rebounds per game in two years for Memphis State. Victor Oladipo averaged 10.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game in three years at Indiana. Oladipo's junior season averages were 13.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 2.2 steals per game.

I rest my case. Vote Penny.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily