The greatest moments in sports history are often accompanied by a soundtrack. A play-by-play call that adds to the moment and rings throughout the annals of history.
Our friends at Awful Announcing just completed a tournament to determine the Greatest Call in Sports. The winner was, somewhat predictably, Al Michaels' call of the 1980 Olympic hockey semifinal game when he shouted: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" as the United States upset the Soviet Union powerhouse on their way to the gold medal a few days later.
The top basketball call in the tournament did not even make it out of the second round. Larry Bird's steal in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons and Michael Jordan's game-winner over Craig Ehlo in the first round of the 1989 NBA Playoffs.
Seeing as it is August and there is nothing else to talk about concerning the Magic or the NBA, and seeing that it is the 25th Anniversary season, now seems as good a time as any to ask the question: What is the greatest call in Magic history?
I put this question to Twitter earlier this week and got some good answers.
So I put the poll to you. Rank the calls with 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest (you don't need to vote "Other," although if you do, please include it in the comments). I will reveal the results next week or by the end of the month! Click after the jump to see the candidates:
"Nick Anderson stole the ball, he stole the ball from Michael Jordan!"
1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1
Above is the national broadcast of the most famous play in Magic history. It is not nearly as good as the radio broadcast from David Steele, providing perhaps the most famous call in Magic history. This is the kind of call that lives on in the annals of a team's history.
"Oh man, you've got to be kidding me!"
Magic vs. Spurs, 2007
One of the more exciting games in Magic history, and one of the games that proved Dwight Howard was the real deal as he was budding into a young superstar. This was an improbable play and David Steele's call embraces that emotion.
"He brought it down, he brought the whole goal down!"
Magic @ Nets, 1992
Chip Caray and David Steele both had amazing calls for Shaquille O'Neal's most famous dunk in a Magic uniform. Above is Caray's call on the Magic's television broadcast. I am sure everyone had an idea O'Neal had this kind of power, but to see him actually do it. . . that deserved a "Kapaya!"
"Lewis for 3 . . . YES!"
Magic vs. Cavs, Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 (or 4)
In that glorious series against the Cavaliers, Rashard Lewis had two moments that made Marv Albert scream his trademark "YES!" That catch-phrase seems to be the calling card of the 1990s and onward NBA. The Magic got two. I list teh Game 1 call, because, frankly, that is my favorite game of that series -- except for Game 6. Lewis did it again in Game 4 to give the Magic the lead before LeBron James forced overtime.
"Garrity throws down"
Magic vs. Sixers, 2005
The most unlikely dunk in Magic history. It has really no significance in Magic history other than a fan favorite doing something completely unexpected. A Pat Garrity dunk, no matter how inane, should rank very highly in the franchise's annals.
To Michael Jordan: "Oh my goodness, what did you think of that one?"
2002 NBA All-Star Game
Tracy McGrady probably had the best All-Star Game in Magic history in Philadelphia in 2002. It was his national coming out party after spending a year in Orlando as the Most Improved Player and budding young star. McGrady threw the ball off the backboard and made his national presence known. I completely forgot that the NBC broadcast was talking with Michael Jordan at the time the play occurred.
"He dishes to Reynolds. He's going to shoot!"
Scott Skiles records 30 assists
Again, the radio broadcast for this one was also pretty good with David Steele screaming, "He's got the record!" But this TV call was also good. Note how the TV broadcaster pauses after Reynolds shoots and lets the crowd atmosphere take the rest of the way. Everyone knew at this point that Skiles was going for the record and he pulled off of fast breaks to get assists. Got to love playing those Nuggets of the 1990s!
"The Magic say, 'Why not us? Why not now?'"
1995 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7
The Magic's broadcast of the game used the rallyign cry for this naive and young Magic squad. "Why not us? Why not now?" Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals was a culmination of the most successful and surprising season in the organization's history to that point. And you can see it in the celebration even before the game was over. The team was too young not to enjoy the moment a little bit.
"And that will do it. Game, set and match. Will somebody show us the way to California?"
2009 Eastern Conference Finals Game 6
The Magic upset the Cavaliers in a raucous Game 6 at Amway Arena. It also led to one of the finer calls from Magic radio voice Dennis Neumann. Neumann captured the Magic fan's jubilation at dethroning LeBron James in exclaiming, "Game, set and match." And then, like David Steele 14 years before, previewed the next series as the Magic got their jet raring to go to get to Los Angeles.
Again, here is the poll. Go ahead and rank them.