When the Magic announced there would be a Hall of Fame formed in the Amway Center at the beginning of the year, it was clear who would be the first players and executives to be honored. It could only be the original Magic men.
Pat Williams was the driving force for forming the team. There is no Orlando Magic without. No Orlando Arena. Maybe not even an Orlando as we know it. Downtown grew up around the Orlando Arena and the city got put on the map as more than a tourist destination and an airport to get there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Magic were truly transformational for the community.
Nick Anderson was the team’s original draft pick. He was not the first member of the Magic — that goes to Sidney Green from the Expansion Draft — but he was the first player Orlando fans could truly call their own. He was never an All Star, but he was a guy who constantly sacrificed himself for the betterment of his team and his teammates. Even if the rest of the world likes to remember his biggest failing, the Magic fans remember him for his greatest triumphs.
Undoubtedly, these were the two guys that HAD to be the inaugural class to the Magic’s new Hall of Fame. It was a no-brainer. These guys not only embody everything the franchise is about, they bleed Magic blue and literally put their hands in the earth and built the franchise from the ground up.
Without Nick Anderson stealing the ball, there is no Finals trip. Without Pat Williams never-ending positivity and belief in Central Florida there is no Orlando Magic. They quite literally shaped the franchise from the bottom up.
Their induction into the Magic Hall of Fame is as much about what they did for the franchise as who they are and what they mean to the organization. Yes, they are the “founding” members in many ways, but they mean so much more to the community. And the community means so much to them.
A kid from Chicago who probably could not find Orlando on a map when he was drafted in 1989, and now it has become his home. Everything the Magic have done for him he seems to truly appreciate. It meant a lot to him to be welcomed back as a community ambassador seven or eight years ago. It means a lot to him when fans come up to him and speak to him about the old days and what he has meant to the organization.
Anderson is the kind of player the proves it is not on-the-court numbers that judge impact. It is the way you carry yourself on and off the court. The effort that you give every single night. The way you devote yourself to the community and the fans. These are the things that matter.
Both Anderson and Williams embodied that in the early days of the Magic organization all the way until now. They have stood as the models for 25 years of Magic basketball.
There were simply no other choices for this first class to the Hall of Fame. They can both take their seats at the head of the table of the Hall of Fame.