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Orlando Magic: Updated NBA Championship History

Orlando Magic History and Highlights.

Orlando Magic competes in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. It is one of the teams that joined the league in the late 1980s and has yet to win an NBA championship, despite being part of two NBA Finals so far.

The team was founded in 1989 as an expansion franchise and has had many superstars such as Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard.


The Magic started its NBA journey by selecting Nick Anderson as the 10th pick at the 1989 NBA Draft, who was the current College Player of the Year. Anderson was not a player who could put the Magic on the map right away, but the team had back-to-back first picks at the 1992 and 1993 drafts, which they used to create one of the best duos in the league.

1992: Shaquille O’Neal

In 1992, the Orlando Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal with the top pick. O’Neal became one of the best centers in the league right away and made his first All-Star appearance in his rookie year.

1993: Penny Hardaway

The following year, the Orlando Magic had another chance to pick first in the draft. They selected Chris Webber but decided to trade him for Penny Hardaway and three future draft picks.

1995: Hardaway and O’Neal Defeat Michael Jordon on Way to Finals

Hardaway and O’Neal became one of the most attractive duos in the league right away, which made the Orlando Magic a fun team to watch. They quickly became a powerful force in the East and made it to the NBA Finals in 1995. On their way to the finals, the Magic defeated the Chicago Bulls in the season when Michael Jordan came back from his first retirement. Unfortunately, the Magic were swept by the Houston Rockets in the finals.

1996: Shaq Leaves for LA Lakers

Just as Penny and Shaq were taking over the league, the center decided to sign for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, leaving Hardaway as the team’s only star. Things got even worse as Hardaway was often injured, which would eventually cut his career short.

1999: Hardaway Signs with Phoenix Suns, Magic Signs Grant Hill

Right after the Orlando Magic traded Hardaway to the Phoenix Suns, the Magic signed Grant Hill, who was one of the top stars in the league playing for the Detroit Pistons. He was paired with Tracy McGrady, who was also brought in from the Toronto Raptors. The Magic had high hopes with Hill and McGrady in the lineup. They were so close to signing Tim Duncan from the San Antonio Spurs, which would have changed the league, but they fell short in the end.

Unfortunately for the Magic, Hill had major injuries and played only 57 games in his first three seasons with the team.

2003: Tracy McGrady Becomes NBA’s Leading Scorer

McGrady proved to be a great sign as he became the NBA’s leading scorer in 2003 and 2004. However, McGrady couldn’t take Orlando past the first round of the Playoffs. In 2004, he was traded to the Houston Rockets.

2004-09: Dwight Howard Takes Orlando to 2009 NBA Finals

When the Orlando Magic traded McGrady, they drafted center Dwight Howard with the first pick of the NBA Draft. He quickly became one of the best players in the league, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award three times. Howard took over the team, and the Magic found the way to the 2009 NBA Finals, where they lost in 5 games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Post-Howard Years

Shortly after, Howard and the team management had many disputes, and the center left the team to join the Lakers in 2012. Ever since, the team has been in a constant rebuilding process and has yet to find its next big star. Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo had good episodes with the Magic, but Orlando has made the playoffs only twice in the last decade.

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