Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic joined the NBA in 1988 along with the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Magic have been a very successful team since they joined the league. They have made the playoffs in over half of the season of their existence. They have played in two Finals, but they have failed to bring a championship home to Orlando.
The first few seasons, the Magic worked their way towards respectability. They were making it close to be a playoff team when numerous players were hurt in the 1991-1992 season. This led to a 21-61 record. The bright spot of this terrible season was the consolation of winning the first pick in the NBA draft. With that pick the Magic drafted Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq led the Magic to a drastic turn around the next season. They went from a 21-61 record to a 41-41 record the next season. Shaq was the first rookie to be voted an All Star since Michael Jordan was almost a decade earlier.

orlando magic present logo

Present logo of the Orlando Magic

The next season the Magic were able to add Anfernee Hardaway through the draft. It was through Shaq and Hardaway that the Magic established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in East. The Magic made it to the Finals in 1995 after only seven seasons in the league. They were defeated by the Houston Rockets without winning a game in the Finals.
The Magic happened to be good at the wrong time. They improved their overall record the next season, but that happened to be Michael Jordan’s first full season back from retirement in which he led the Bulls to the best season in NBA history and a NBA championship.
The Magic then went into a time of relative obscurity. Shaq ended up leaving the Magic to go sign with the Lakers. Without their best player, the Magic could not keep up their title contending days. The Magic ended up missing the playoffs for a few seasons.
In 2000, the Magic were able to sign star free agents Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. Hill was hurt off for almost the whole season, but McGrady became a star and one of the leading scorers in the NBA. McGrady was able to lead the Magic to the playoff for a few years as well as leading the league in scoring, but they were never able to make it out of the first round.
In 2004, the Magic fell drastically from a playoff team to the worst team in the league. Just like the time over a decade ago when the Magic had a disappointing season, they had the consolation of having the first pick in the NBA draft. Like the previous time, the Magic selected a up and coming 7 foot center. Dwight Howard, the Magic’s new center, was immediately compared to Shaq for many good reasons.
Behind their new superstar center, the Magic returned to the playoffs a few seasons later. They did not just become a playoff team, but they have since become a consistent powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. In 2009, the Magic were able to break through and make it to the Finals for the second time. They upset the Cleveland Cavaliers who were led by league MVP LeBron James. The Magic went on to face and lose to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic did win one game in the Finals for their first ever Finals win after being swept by the Rockets fourteen years earlier.
The Magic are still one of the NBA’s best. The comparisons between Shaq and Dwight Howard continue to this day. Both have been nick named Superman for their strength and leaping ability while both being over 7 feet tall. The comparisons grew as Dwight Howard asked to be traded away from the Magic. Shaq left the Magic because they were not doing enough to build a championship team. Howard had the same feelings.
Howard recently decided to take back his trade request, and he signed a one year extension to his contract to remain with the Magic at least through next season. With his leadership the Magic could make a title run this season.