It’s easy to forget give the team’s recent lack of an identity and superstar, but at one time Orlando was the place that saw drafted talent and free agents flourish.
Shaquille O’Neal was selected first overall in 1992 and a year later, Penny Hardaway was drafted third overall by Golden State and then traded to the Magic for Chris Webber. The two of them were one of the most exciting tandems in the NBA.
Penny Has Said He Felt “Blindsided” When Shaq Left
O’Neal left in ’96 and Hardaway left three years later for Phoenix, but the few years they were together were magical (no pun intended).
The same can be said for the expectations bringing in Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, who were on Orlando’s roster together from 00-04.
Hill and T-Mac both were cursed with injuries throughout their careers, but when healthy, there were each spectacular. Unfortunately, during the time they played together, Hill was sidelined a lot with varying ailments.
But Orlando couldn’t be held accountable for that and the Magic’s lack of a winning culture gave them the No. 1 pick in 2004.
T-Mac And Hill Excited Magic Fans When They Signed In ’00
Dwight Howard’s career in Orlando was much longer than any of the previous stars mentioned, and like the Magic’s other first overall pick, Howard left Florida for the Lakers.
In eight seasons in O-Town, Howard was one of the best centers in the league.
Howard Was A Bonafide Star In Orlando
Howard was a six-time All-Star (07-12), named to five All-NBA First Teams (08-12), and was the Defensive Player of the Year three times (09-11).
But like Hill and McGrady, Howard suffered from injuries that ultimately cost him continued success.