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-DJ R-Tistic-
Member since Nov 06th 2008
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Thu Apr-16-15 01:40 PM

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"Oral History of the 1990 Orlando Magic"



(The intro paragraphs)

They were destined for greatness. Back in the mid-1990s, you couldn’t imagine a more promising basketball pairing than the Orlando Magic’s Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. O’Neal was powerful and agile, plus swift and skillful in a way that hadn’t been seen in a 7-footer since Wilt Chamberlain (and hasn’t been seen since O’Neal retired). Hardaway was seen as the rightful heir to Magic Johnson — a tall, transcendent point guard who would headline the new generation of NBA superstars. If you wanted to build an ideal basketball team, you would start with a center and a point guard. If you wanted to build the perfect team, you would start with O’Neal and Hardaway. The Magic, only a few years removed from their lowly expansion-team origins, skyrocketed to fame with their abundant talent and black-and-white pinstripes. O’Neal and Hardaway were surrounded by capable role players like Dennis Scott, Brian Shaw, Nick Anderson, and Horace Grant. Together, they seemed poised to become the NBA’s next dynasty.

Perhaps no NBA team has ever featured two players more marketable than O’Neal and Hardaway. The two filmed Blue Chips together and became dueling campaign faces for Nike and Reebok. O’Neal had his wide smile and an outsize personality to match his towering physique. Hardaway was more reserved, but possessed that unforgettable nickname and a Chris Rock–voiced alter ego to talk trash for him. The possibilities seemed endless, as if the championship rings and parades would be a formality.
And then it ended. The Magic’s competitive window slammed shut faster than anyone imagined, thanks to O’Neal’s unexpected departure to Los Angeles, the firing of Magic coach Brian Hill, and the decline of Hardaway’s game thanks to knee injuries. It took years for the franchise to build another competitive team, and even though the Dwight Howard–led Magic reached the NBA Finals in 2009, the pride mixed with disappointment from 1995 and ’96 remained strong.

The Shaq and Penny Magic are in an unfortunate class similar to the ’70s Blazers, ’80s Rockets, or 2000s Kings — a story of unfulfilled potential and a dynasty that never was. “We were just having so much fun playing the game,” Scott said. “We weren’t really thinking about making history or understanding how good we really could be. All that stuff was happening so fast.”
Penny and Shaq. Shaq and Penny. For a brief time — they played only three seasons together — most of the NBA believed no one could stop them. Everyone quoted in this piece is identified by the positions they played or jobs they had during the mid-1990s. Phil Jackson declined interviews for this oral history.


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Oral History of the 1990 Orlando Magic [View all] , -DJ R-Tistic-, Thu Apr-16-15 01:40 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
good read... btw, it's an oral history of the 1990s* Magic
Apr 17th 2015
LMAO. That probably killed half of y'all from reading it
Apr 17th 2015
I know it delayed my clicking
Apr 17th 2015
yeah, I only clicked because I was curious why it had replies
Apr 19th 2015
pretty much...i thought it was about their inaugural season.
Apr 21st 2015
Would just be a bunch of people telling stories about his coke problem.
Apr 21st 2015
peeped this a couple of days ago. awesome article
Apr 18th 2015
ost memorable for me was being at the Orena for the draft party in 93
Apr 19th 2015
seems pretty stupid, they won that trade handily
Apr 19th 2015
In hindsight maybe. At the time it was not liked in central FL
Apr 19th 2015
Whoa...what's wild is that I was actually in Florida, but Tallahassee
Apr 20th 2015
most fun team to watch of the '90s IMO
Apr 21st 2015
My favorite team of my lifetime.
Apr 21st 2015
I think they were ranked the #1 NBA Jam team EVERYWHERE I went
Apr 21st 2015
      Yep for sure. Them and the Hornets were typically top 2...
Apr 21st 2015

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