Nick Anderson remembers the first time he put a Magic uniform on very well.
It was a preseason game against the Pistons. The Orlando Arena was sold out and it sounded and felt like a regular season game. It sounded and felt like a Playoff game.
The celebration after the victory for the expansion Magic was like winning a championship. You can imagine the gridlock coming down Robinson and Amelia and Orange as Orlando experienced NBA basketball for the first time as their own.
"It showed people that there's something here," Anderson said. "I will never forget it, winning that first exhibition game against the Detroit Pistons, which was the world champions at the time, our fans thought we had won the NBA championship. It was good, the support that was given. The fans have not wavered. "
It was quite the introduction for the Magic and quite the introduction for the NBA to Orlando.
Nick Anderson was there for it. He was there for all of it these past 25 years.
"It was wonderful to be a part of kicking off something that's long-standing," Anderson said.
"I never expected anything like this coming down from Chicago, being drafted from the University of Illinois. I just came to play basketball. Look at what these fans and this organization, they gave me so much more. It's an honor. It's a privilege. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity. I couldn't say more. It could have been someone else. But I was chosen."
Anderson was the Magic's original Draft pick in 1989, taken with the 11th pick. He became a favorite son, becoming the team's all-time leading scorer and its longest tenured player, playing for the Magic for its first decade of existence. He averaged 15.4 points per game and shooting 45.4 percent from the floor.
He is the author of perhaps the greatest moment in Magic history, when he snuck behind Michael Jordan and stole the ball, feeding Anfernee Hardaway for a game-saving fast break in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.no comments