The Magic will honor fan favorite Darrell Armstrong as part of their continuing "Legends Night" series at Friday's game between the Magic and the Wizards.
Armstrong played nine seasons in Orlando, averaging 11.7 points and 5.1 assists per game. That does not begin to describe his impact and why he remains one of the most beloved and popular Magic players in the team's history.
Orlando discovered Armstrong after he was playing in various minor leagues, including the CBA, in 1995. He was brought along for the Finals run even though he was not on the active roster for the Playoffs. His energy then could be seen very easily. He began really making a name for himself in 1997 when he played 67 games and found a role as an energy player off the bench.
Armstrong would hound offensive players with his sheer effort and determination. As Anfernee Hardaway was scoring baskets in the 1997 Playoffs, Armstrong was doing his number on Tim Hardaway on the defensive end. Nobody seemed to be able to match the energy Armstrong would bring to games (a couple cups of coffee before the game and some Hershey's Kisses at halftime definitely helped keep Armstrong's spirits up).
He became the face for the still-beloved and revered Heart & Hustle team of the 1999-2000 season. That year, the Magic were trying to clear the decks for free agency and had a roster full of expiring contracts. It turned into a team that went 41-41 and nearly snuck into the Playoffs.
Armstrong was never an All Star, but he was just a feisty and fiery player who pushed others around him to play harder and work harder. Magic teams during the stretch he was on the roster were certainly made better by his example. It was no coincidence, it seemed, that the Magic fell apart as an organization when they let Armstrong go and turned the captaincy completely over to the quieter Tracy McGrady.
Armstrong will go through the Magic media circuit throughout Friday. He will be on Magic Drive Time with Dante Marchitelli on 740 AM in Orlando on Thursday from 5:30-6 p.m. He will also join Paul Kennedy and Nick Anderson for the Fox Sports Florida pregame show before Friday's game and David Steele and Jeff Turner for the second quarter of Friday's game. He will also be honored at mid-court between the first and second quarters of Friday's game as part of the Legends Night celebration.
Armstrong is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, where he won the NBA title with the Mavericks in 2011. He previously received a short tribute video as other former players have when the Mavericks visited Orlando in November.
This time, Armstrong will get the tribute he truly deserves.