ORLANDO — Last Friday, when the Orlando Magic took on the San Antonio Spurs inside the Amway Center arena, there was a sense that the Spurs had a solid opportunity to bounce back from their first National Basketball defeat in nearly a month.
As it turns out, they did, with a 109-91 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Despite that disappointment for the Magic’s local and national fans, the Orlando Magic is heading into its 25th anniversary season with a lot of optimistic, and not just on the court of the Amway auditorium, but also in the growth of the franchise in this city. Marking the start of the team’s new season in October, the city also took a moment to glance back at more than two decades of Magic in this city, while unveiling some major plans for the future.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined the team at the Amway Center to mark the 25th Anniversary Silver Season and to proclaim it “Orlando Magic Day” in both the City Beautiful and all of Orange County.
It was as much of a walk down memory lane as it was an opportunity to root for the team during this upcoming season.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years,” Dyer said. But he also noted that the Magic have given the city a lot to be proud of, and so has the Amway.
“This facility is the envy of teams worldwide,” Dyer said.
“We’ve shared a lot of tremendous memories over the years, and we look forward to the next season,” said NBA announcer David Steele. The Orlando Magic Silver Season ran from 1989 to 2014.
Alex Martins, the CEO of the Orlando Magic, looked back at the team’s earliest days.
“There’s a lot of great memories over the course of those 25 years,” Martins said. “The very first game we played here was against the defending champs, the Detroit Pistons.”
Martins smiled and added, “We beat the defending champs that night.”
The team also honored the legacy of the first-ever draft choice of the Magic in 1989, Nick Anderson, who came to Central Florida to play basketball – and, while now retired, is still loved by Magic fans.
“It is going to be a season of great recognition,” predicted Anderson, now an Orlando Magic ambassador.
The team made available silver 25th Season t-shirts to everyone attending the game that evening, and on that same day, the Magic made the announcement that the team would create an Orlando Magic Hall of Fame on the Terrace Level of the Amway Center to honor players, coaches and executives.
“What a great way to celebrate 25 years of the Orlando Magic,” Jacobs said.
The Magic is also moving forward with plans to develop a $100 million entertainment complex and corporate headquarters adjacent to the Amway Center, with construction possibly beginning by next summer.
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