The Orlando Magic joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1989. Despite its relatively young age, the Magic have already produced many memorable seasons thanks to their long list of star players. Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard are the two most notable Magic players, with the latter leading the Orlando Magic’s team stats.
Even if the Magic can go through frequent periods of rebuilding, this franchise has a knack for getting superstars in the NBA Draft. Currently, the Magic are long shots on the NBA odds board. But if their rebuilding efforts pay off, the Magic could become a contender again.
Team Ranked Stats
Orlando Magic All-Time Records
Dwight Howard, 11,435
Orlando Magic Stats & Team History
Orlando joined the NBA in 1989 and like the typical expansion franchise, it struggled mightily. But in 1992, the franchise won the NBA Draft Lottery and selected Shaquille O’Neal with the first overall pick. Not only did “Shaq” become an immediate All-Star, but he also changed the culture around the team. The Magic became better on and off the court.
The following season, Orlando once again won the NBA Draft Lottery. But instead of keeping Chris Webber, the team traded him for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Together, the duo of “Shaq and Penny” made the Magic one of the most popular franchises in pro sports.
In 1995, the Magic went all the way to the NBA Finals, even defeating the returning Michael Jordan’s Bulls. However, the team was swept by the Rockets. And in 1996, the Bulls exacted revenge by sweeping Orlando in the Conference Finals.
Despite winning 60 games in 1996, O’Neal left Orlando for the Lakers. With Hardaway now the face of the franchise, Orlando returned to the postseason, but lost in the first round. The next season, Hardaway injured his knee and sharply declined as a player. He left the team in 1999.
The Magic had to retool and did it quickly. Doc Rivers came on board as head coach in 1999 and along with Tracy McGrady, the team’s new superstar, Orlando became perennial NBA playoffs contenders. The team also acquired Grant Hill, but he became plagued with injuries in his tenure with the team.
McGrady, as he requested, was traded in 2004 just after the team selected Dwight Howard with the first overall pick. Howard, like O’Neal before him, blossomed into a superstar center who went on to win three Defensive Player of the Awards while leading the Magic’s team stats.
The Magic signed Stan Van Gundy to coach the team and he unlocked Howard’s potential. Surrounding him with sharpshooters like Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson, Orlando became a title contender. The team made the NBA Finals in 2009, albeit in a losing effort.
However, Howard became disgruntled and was traded from the team in 2012. Two uneventful playoff trips in the late 2010s, and Orlando became a moribund franchise once again. But in 2022, the team won the top pick for the NBA Draft once more; as they had already done with their other top choices, the Magic selected a star big man in Paolo Banchero.
With Banchero as the team’s new star, Orlando looks to recapture the magic (pun intended) of its glory years under O’Neal and Howard, but with happier endings.
Orlando Magic FAQs