Why the Orlando Magic chose to go with the 2000s eras throwbacks

Bo Outlaw was part of the Heart & Hustle team the Orlando Magic will honor with throwback uniforms this year. (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bo Outlaw was part of the Heart & Hustle team the Orlando Magic will honor with throwback uniforms this year. (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

During the Orlando Magic’s 15th anniversary season in 2004, everyone was eagerly awaiting the team’s first foray into wearing a throwback jersey.

The idea of wearing throwback jerseys in games was still relatively new — a fashion trend that had spawned and quickly grown among fans. The NBA was capitalizing and teams were more willing to bend traditional jersey rules to celebrate their past — and maybe print and sell a few more jerseys in the process.

It did not matter. With the Magic stumbling and falling out of the gates heading into their Christmas Day game against rookie LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, there seemed only one thing left to look forward to.

So when the TD Waterhouse Centre started pumping AC/DC’s “Back in Black” as the team came out of the locker room for pregame warmups wearing the familiar font and look of their original jerseys, there was at least a moment to celebrate that season.

The Magic were back in those comfortable pinstripe uniforms once again.

When the Orlando Magic have worn throwback uniforms, they have consistently gone to the original pinstripes. For the first time, the Magic are turning to their 2000s-era set to celebrate their history.

And for every five years since, they have turned back to those throwback uniforms as a bit of comfort food to celebrate their anniversary. They wore the black pinstripes in 2004. They returned with the blue pinstripes in the 2005 season. They wore the white pinstripes in 2009 season and back to the black pinstripes in the 2010 season. For 2014, they wore the white pinstripes again. And then in 2019, they wore the blue pinstripes for select games.

Nobody complained. The original pinstripe jerseys — and everything having to do with the original pinstripe uniforms and original logo — are beloved by fans. Everyone consistently calls for the team to go back to these wordmarks and jerseys if they could — even if they are a very late 1980s and early 1990s style.

For the first time then, the Magic will wear throwback jerseys not from that original era (1990-1998) for this 35th anniversary season. They will wear the blue stars jerseys they debuted with their 10th anniversary season in the lockout-shortened 1999 season.

"“They all rock with them,” Jalen Suggs said of his and his teammates’ response to the new Classic Edition jerseys. “They all like them. It’s a clean look. The blues are my favorite uniforms last year as well. I can’t wait to rock them on game night and have this arena filled with people full of energy and some great games.”"

They are certainly player-approved.

Fans do not appear to be complaining at all either. Nobody seems to be complaining actually.

The reintroduction of these jerseys has gotten rave reviews throughout the Internet and the NBA community. Fans have been excited about seeing the unique jerseys with stars inlaid into the fabric.

It was a unique look when they came out and became iconic among the Magic jersey set — we ranked them the No. 2 jersey in Magic history back in 2019. They are just a clean look that screams Magic and gave the team’s look an undoubted character. You knew you were watching the Magic just by looking at them.

It made sense to bring them back at some point, even if it meant skipping the pinstripe jerseys in this rotation.

It made sense as well to the Magic’s front office to pay homage to a part of Magic history the team does not often reach.

But this is a part of Magic history that deserves its recognition even without the record of success that Orlando had in the original pinstripes or the new pinstripes that the team still wears regularly.

As Magic CEO Alex Martins repeated, it was important to pay homage to the Heart & Hustle team of 1999-2000. Even though the team did not make the playoffs that year, they are still considered one of the most beloved and popular teams in Magic history.

"“That team is constantly mentioned by our fans as one of their favorite teams of all time,” Martins said at Friday’s tip-off event. “For a team that didn’t even make the playoffs, our fans continue to tell us that was one of their favorite teams because they did hustle and put it all out on the floor every night. They were really entertaining to watch.“We just felt like taking this anniversary and really paying homage to that team in particular and all of our teams — you are going to see a lot of our legends all year long — but really to pay homage to that team, a team that our fans really look to as one of their favorites, just seemed to make sense to us for the 35th anniversary.”"

That is certainly a team that deserves its flowers and its remembrance.

For those unfamiliar with the story, following the 1999 season, the Magic decided to blow up the entire roster, trading away the last remnants of the 1995 Finals team for players on the final year of their contract to make a play for free agency in the summer of 2000.

Many projected the Magic to struggle to win 20 games that year. Instead, the group led by Darrell Armstrong and Bo Outlaw and featuring Ben Wallace, rookie Corey Maggette and veteran scorer Ron Mercer surprised everyone going 41-41 and staying in the playoff chase until the final week of the season.

The story that gets passed around that team was opponents asking players to chill out because they played so hard all the time.

Orlando did make its free agency play the following summer, picking up Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill the following July. The majority of the time wearing these uniforms featured McGrady and a good chunk of his Hall of Fame career wearing these jerseys.

That is why he was part of the official introduction of the uniforms on social media:

Additionally, the logo and wordmark itself is something Magic fans were certainly eager to see return. The plain wordmarks are probably the biggest criticism of the team’s current logo set and why fans are eager to see at least a brand refresh.

Everyone has a lot of nostalgia for the team’s old jerseys and logos. Incorporating them in any way into the current jersey set is typically a welcomed sight for Magic fans.

Martins said the logo was one of the favorites from season ticketholders and fans. And so it is great to bring that wordmark back to the court and on the jerseys.

That is only going to increase the energy around a very anticipated season for this Magic franchise. They have a young team that is eager to make its own mark and write its own story.

As much as the Magic are going to celebrate their past this season, they also are eagerly looking forward to their future. And that is part of the weight ahead for this team.

"“I love it. Just for us, us young guys and the new generation, we feel like we’re ready to take that next step as a team,” Suggs said at Friday’s tip-off event. “I don’t think there is any better way to do it and set it up than go to the throwbacks and pay homage to all the OGs and people who laid the foundation for this organization. For us to come in as a team and continue to carry their tradition and get Amway rocking and bring some wins.”"

Amway Center certainly seems like it will be rocking. Fans are already eager to see these uniforms in action and celebrate this part of Magic history visually as the team builds its future.

Next. Orlando Magic's 35th Anniversary season about family bond within franchise. dark

The only question anybody has is when does the season start so we can get to it all.