The Lone Pro Sports Team In Orlando

When you think about Orlando professional sports usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. After all, it is mostly known around the world as the home of Disneyland, the most popular amusement park in the world. Besides that, the city is just known mostly as a place where people who work at Disney live. This has been particularly true until the late 1980s.

In the mid-80s, local Orlando businessman Jim Hewitt had the idea to bring professional sports to Orlando FL. This seemed ludicrous at the time to some residents in the area, but he thought it could be accomplished. He saw the NBA as his best bet. He then enlisted the help of Philadelphia 76ers GM Pat Williams to help him get the team to the city.

The NBA granted Orlando a franchise. They were given the name the Orlando Magic. This is a fitting name considering the cities relationship with the most magical place in the world. The team won its first game in 1989 versus the Detroit Pistons. This was a big win. After that, they struggled throughout the season as most expansion franchises typically do.

Considering the franchise has only been a team for 27 years, they have had some success. This began in the early 1990s when the Magic had the first pick of the 1992 draft and drafted Shaquille O’Neal. He rapidly developed into one of the most dominant centers in the game and became even more efficient when he was paired with the young guard, Penny Hardaway, the next year.

The two were the best young duo in the NBA. They even took the Magic to their first championship series in 1994, thanks to the much easier road created by the absence of Michael Jordan. Unfortunately, the Magic were swept in the series by a much more experienced Houston Rockets team.

Shaq soon left for LA and Penny was battling injuries. Since then, the Magic have seen limited success in the NBA. They did make a final in 2009 led by center Dwight Howard. They were overmatched in that series and lost to a Kobe Bryant-led team in just five games.

Right now, the Magic are in rebuilding mode. They just hired former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel and are focused on acquiring and cultivating young talent to make them a competitor in the future. Vogel is one of the best coaches in the league when it comes to developing future talent, so the things are looking up in Orlando.