This past weekend, the Basketball Hall of Fame inducted a stacked 2023 class of inductees. Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker highlighted a fun class entering the hall and taking their place among the immortals of the game.
It was an emotional night as the inductees shared their influences and gave thanks to all those who helped them in their careers. It is always a meaningful night and it is one of the few times these basketball heroes are often moved to tears.
There were a few poignant moments throughout the night.
Allen Iverson presented Dwyane Wade and Wade took time in his speech to thank Iverson for his influence on his game — even down to Wade wearing Iverson’s No. 3 while he was in the NBA. Pau Gasol gave his appreciation for the original European players who paved the way to the NBA — Sarunas Marciulionis, Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac — all with Toni Kukoc sitting on the stage to present him.
And everyone had their appreciation for the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls and the influence they had on all their formative years watching and pursuing basketball.
Hall of Fame weekend was a time to show appreciation for the past greats of the game who continue to influence the league today. As the young Orlando Magic develop, they should look to Hall of Famers for inspiration in their games.
That is the beautiful thing about basketball. Everyone is building on something that came before them. They are building off the history that preceded them, taking bits of the game from everyone they are watching.
Shaquille O’Neal watched and idolized Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Michael Jordan watched Julius Erving and Sidney Moncrief. Paolo Banchero idolized Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.
Everyone is building off the players they watched and influenced them.
The Magic may well celebrate an alumnus joining the Basketball Hall of Fame next year when Vince Carter is expected to get his name called — a player himself who had an outsized influence on the next generation of basketball, especially in Canada — but the team is still waiting for Dwight Howard’s retirement before its next great celebration of its history.
Still, there is one way the Magic can celebrate its history and the history of the league: By looking to the influences of their current team on the rise. The players that the current Magic should be studying and modeling themselves after. The players who they will one day list as their influences when their career wraps up.
So much about this current Magic team is still so unknown. There may be a pair of Hall of Fame players on the team. . . there may not be still.
Yet every player has someone to model their game after. As we continue to celebrate the Magic’s 35th anniversary season, let’s look forward by looking back at who the Magic’s current roster could model their game after.