Orlando Magic History and How to Book Orlando Magic Tickets
The Orlando Magic have been around for 30 seasons and just completed their 33rd season. The team is one of the most storied franchises in the NBA and has had numerous players and coaches come through to help shape the game. But how did they get there? What’s their history? In this blog, we will look back on the early years of this historic team.
The Orlando Magic was founded in 1989 by Wayne Huizenga, a Florida businessman. He purchased both the Florida Marine Stadium — now known as Amway Arena — and an expansion franchise from the league for $50 million. It was his vision that a new arena could not only wield power in revitalization of downtown Orlando, but also bring people to see professional sports live for the first time since 1984 when the Miami Hurricanes won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at Miami Arena.
In 1990, he named Stan Van Gundy head coach of his expansion franchise as well as vice president of basketball operations (VPB).
The Early Years of the Orlando Magic
In their first season, the team played in a league that was not yet known as the NBA. They did well and finished with a cumulative record of 28-54. That year, they were in the playoffs but lost to eventual champions the Chicago Bulls.
In 1991, the Magic’s success continued as they managed a 32-50 record and found themselves back in the playoffs again. In 1992, they had another successful season, finishing with a 36-46 record but fell short once again; this time to the Miami Heat in four games. The following years were less successful as they suffered losing seasons every year until 1995 when they joined up with the rest of NBA teams and reached an overall record of 43-39.
The team continued to struggle after joining with other NBA teams until 1997 when Van Gundy made it his mission to turn around this struggling franchise. He led them on an 11-game winning streak before finally getting them into their first ever playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. Despite losing that series by one game it showed that there was hope for this struggling team and its future was looking brighter than ever.
Professionalising the Team
As VPB, he wanted to professionalise the team. He wanted better organization and he wanted a stronger identity. One of his first moves as VPB was signing free agent Dennis Scott out of the Continental Basketball Association, which is now known as the NBA Development League (D-League). This move proved to be a wise one as Scott led the Magic with 27 points in that season’s Western Conference Finals series against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
The next year, Van Gundy hired Tom Sterner to coach his new expansion franchise. Sterner was an assistant coach for many years before becoming head coach for Orlando’s expansion team in 1990. He served as Orlando’s head coach from 1990-1991 and again from 1994-1998. During this time, Sterner led Orlando to their first playoff appearance in 1993-1994 where they lost to Utah Jazz in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Sterner also played a key role during this time period when Van Gundy traded Chris Webber to Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway on 18th February 1995.
The Black History of Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic has a strong history of black people on the team, which is one of the reasons why many people like their team. The franchise has had three ownership groups since they were founded in 1989.
Wayne Huizenga was the first owner of the Magic and he hired Stan Van Gundy as head coach and VPB. In 1992, Richard DeVos and his family purchased the team from Huizenga for $85 million. By 1995 the DeVos family sold control to Philip Anschutz. A year later, Steve Hardin bought out Anschutz’s share of ownership for $4 million and became co-owner with Rich DeVos.
Some of these early owners include:
- Wayne Huizenga – Owner 1989-1997
- Stan Van Gundy – Head Coach 1990-2001
- Richard DeVos – Owner 1992-1995 (first owner)
- Philip A. Anshutz – Owner 1995-2002
- Steve Hardin – Co-Owner 1995-2002
- Rich DeVos – Owner 2002-present
The Magic’s Playoff Successes
The Magic made the playoffs in their first three seasons, but never really had a shot at making it to the NBA Finals.
In 1995, they finally won their first playoff series and went on to win two more before falling to the Detroit Pistons in the 1997 Western Conference Finals.
The team continued its success in the playoffs and by 2001, they were back-to-back Eastern Conference Champions. The team made it all the way up to back-to-back NBA Finals, but fell short against the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs respectively.
The Orlando Magic have been a playoff team for almost every season of their existence and have managed to win over half of their postseason games since 1990.
Orlando Magic Tickets
To book tickets for Orlando Magic games visit their official website https://www.nba.com/magic/