The Magic Begins
In the late ’80s, Orlando businessman Jim Hewitt had an interest in bringing an NBA franchise to Central Florida. With the help of Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams, Hewitt began promoting the would-be team and garnering interest from locals, convincing them to put down deposits on season tickets.
The NBA listened, and that year, four new NBA franchises were born. In addition to the Orlando Magic, basketball fans in Charlotte (the Hornets), Miami (the Heat), and Minnesota (the Timberwolves) welcomed new teams to their towns.
What’s most interesting is that the public was eager to name the Orlando team even before a franchise was awarded – the naming contest run by Hewitt and Williams attracted more than 4,000 entries. The four finalists were “Heat,” “Tropics,” “Juice,” and “Magic.” After a visit by Williams’ 7-year-old daughter, after which she said Orlando was like magic, the men decided to whittle down to that very name.
The Heart of Florida
While the Magic have yet to win the NBA Finals, they have made the playoffs in half of the seasons they’ve hit the court (14 out of 28 since 1989). They won their first conference title in 1995, a mere six years after becoming a franchise and again in 2009. Their last playoff appearance was during the 2011-12 season, but they beat a hasty retreat after losing in the first round.
However, despite never having hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Magic have manned the court with quite a few household names. Notable former players include Dwight Howard, who played for the Magic for eight seasons; Nick Anderson, one of the first players who joined the expansion club in 1989; Tracy McGrady, who was with the Magic for four seasons; Horace Grant, who played for seven years with the Bulls, followed by seven with the Magic (though not consecutively); and Shaquille O’Neal, who was chosen No. 1 overall by the Magic in 1992 and spent the first four seasons of his NBA career in Orlando.
Over the team’s nearly three decades of history, the Magic jersey has undergone just a few transformations. Let’s check them out.
The Orlando Magic Jersey Over Time
1989–1998: The Magic home jersey is a sharp and classic pinstripe white, with a thick blue trim highlighting the U-shaped neck and arms. A silver star stands in place of the “a” and dotting the “i” in “Magic.”
1998–2000: The Magic jersey gets an upgrade after the pinstripes run their course. In addition to a V-shaped neck and lack of pinstripes, the uniform is made of “dazzle material.” Dazzle material is a staple in the WNBA but doesn’t make its first appearance in the NBA until now. It also features subtle stars woven into the material. The logo is similar to its predecessor, with stars standing in for the “a” and above the “i.”
2000–2003: Not much changes during this time, aside from a secondary logo added to the front of the shorts and a wordmark added to the back.
2003–2008: In 2003, the stylized stars on the team’s name disappear, and “MAGIC” pops on the front of the jersey in blue block letters outlined in gray. The trim on the top stays blue but appears as a double line instead of a solid thick line. A star is placed at the point of the “V” on the neck of the uniform.
2008–2017: The pinstripes come back in 2008, although they are further spaced apart than those on the first uniform. As well, large stars no longer adorn the uniform. The top now features block letters in blue (which are also outlined in black) and a unique double-lined blue trim around the neck. The arms, however, feature no trim.
Are you ready to head to Amway Center to watch your Magic do their thing? First, check out the stellar selection of Magic gear at www.Fanatics.com.