By Veronica An
In 1989, the Orlando Magic played their first-ever game against the New Jersey Nets. The Nets bested the Magic 111-106. The Orlando Magic was created as an NBA expansion team with the help of businessman Jim L. Hewitt and Pat Williams, 76ers general manager, in 1985. In order to garner support for the team, Hewitt and Williams held a team naming contest in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Owners decided between the names “Heat”, “Tropics”, and “Juice” before landing on “Magic” as an homage to Walt Disney World. The NBA team drew developers and real estate investors which led to the creation of the Amway Center. Notable players include Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Dominique Wilkins, and Hedo Türkoğlu. The team has been one of the NBA’s most successful expansion teams; appearing in 15 playoff appearances in 30 years and playing in two NBA Finals (1995 and 2009).