Orlando Magic Hall of Fame Induction Press Conference

What Went Right: Celebrating 25 Years of Magic Basketball

Now that the season is over, it is time to review the last five months. This is our yearly look back at what went right and what went wrong during the 2013-14 season.

In talking with the traveling media throughout the year, you get a sense of what life can be like on the road in the NBA. For the Magic media, the trip to Minneapolis came early for the Timberwolves’ home opener back in October. The two sister franchises were celebrating their 25th Anniversary seasons.

The Magic had a lot planned to celebrate. The Timberwolves? Well, there was not much history to celebrate. And the biggest part of the team’s history was still playing — albeit for the Nets now. There were no championships to honor or legends to bring back.

In that sense, Orlando is incredibly lucky to have had so much to celebrate to mark its 25th Anniversary Season.

It started on Opening Night with the unveiling of a new introduction video that showed classic highlights from the team’s great players and its most memorable plays. The team invited Tracy McGrady back that opening night and he soaked in the love from the Magic fan base. It seemed all demons had been exorcised and McGrady could finally be welcomed home.

The same eventually went for players like Anfernee Hardaway, Grant Hill, Horace Grant, Sam Vincent, Dennis Scott, Pat Garrity, Jeff Turner, Bo Outlaw and Darrell Armstrong.

It culminated with the unveiling of the Magic Hall of Fame, and its two inaugural members — Nick Anderson and Pat Williams.

It was a great celebration of the Magic and its history and the team did so many things throughout the year to commemorate the franchise’s history. It was a natural and proud mix of nostalgia to go along with the hope for the future. There were some great promotions and some great looks back at the history of the organization.

As someone who grew up watching the Magic, I was very much immersed in the team’s history. It was fun reliving a lot of those memories and uncovering some of the stories from the past years.

It is not great that the season highlights was welcoming back McGrady and Hardaway. I am sure the Magic imagined they would be competing for a championship like they were five years ago for the 20th Anniversary.

TracyMcGradyHonored110113What was great about these little moment was that it was officially the time for fans to forgive the bitter exits for players like McGrady and Hardaway. Both mentioned trepidation over the reception they would receive on their nights. Both got standing ovations. Nostalgia has certainly replaced some hard feelings for those two players. Time heals all wounds.

It was also great to see the Magic recognize the former Magic players and coaches as they came in to the Amway Center. It was somewhat comical sometimes watching highlights from players like Zaza Pachulia as they came in. But it was also nice celebrating the contributions from Marcin Gortat, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Matt Barnes. All the fan favorites — and one villain who still deserved some appreciation of giving the Magic some great years.

It was a great celebration. You only wish more wins could have accompanied it. But looking back at Magic history should have given longtime Magic fans a tremendous sense of pride.

A lot has happened and a lot has been built in the last 25 years. Certainly something worth celebrating.

What Went Right: The Bigger PictureKyle O’QuinnDefending Amway CenterPatience
What Went Wrong: Still LosingAndrew NicholsonRoad Worriers, Relying on the 2014 Draft

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

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