As part of the Magic's 25th Anniversary Legends Night, the team will honor Horace Grant during Friday's game between the Magic and the Bobcats at Amway Center. Like previous honorees, Grant will be recognized at center court between the first and second quarters, will spend pregame on Fox Sports Florida's broadcast of the game and join David Steele and Jeff Turner on the in-game broadcast during the second quarter. Grant will also be a guest on Magic Drive Time with Dante Marchitelli on 740 AM in Orlando.
The Magic have already honored several former players including Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and Tracy McGrady. Horace Grant certainly is among those players who deserves his own "Legends Night."
When the Magic signed him in 1995, he instantly transformed the Magic from young team on the rise to championship contender. His grit and experience rubbed off on the team as the organization won its first Playoff series and made its first trip to the Finals in his first year with Orlando.
Grant was the perfect complement to Shaquille O'Neal as someone who was a tenacious rebounder and defender but also someone who could step out and hit an 18-20 foot jumper and keep the defense honest. The top of the key was his favorite spot and O'Neal or Anfernee Hardaway consistently found him open there thanks to the attention everyone else required on defense.
Culturally, Grant became a huge icon for the Magic thanks to his trademark goggles. Shirts and signs saying "It's got to be the goggles" were a constant at the Orlando Arena in 1995 and 1996 with Hulk Hogan even donning them during the Eastern Conference Finals in 1995 to pump up the crowd.
Grant spent seven seasons with the Magic from 1995-99 and 2002-03. He averaged 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in a Magic uniform and posted a 15.9 PER while wearing Magic pinstripes. In four Playoff appearances with Orlando, he upped his production to 12.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, posting a 16.6 PER.
Grant is fourth on the Magic's all-time rebounding and blocking list. He was also a two-time All-NBA Defensive Team player while with the Magic.
He is truly one of the Magic's greatest and most beloved players. There are sure to be plenty of bright blue goggles in the Amway Center on Friday night.