There will be two men that will be a part of the Orlando Magic‘s inaugural Hall of Fame class. One was part of an ownership group that put a once backwater tourist town on the sports map, and the other gave the franchise its first legitimate star.
Magic Co-Founder and Senior Vice President Pat Williams and Nick Anderson, the team’s first draft pick, deserve to be the first inducted into the team’s first Hall of Fame Class, considering that these two men were the first to bring Orlando into the limelight of the NBA.
To understand the importance of these two men in the Magic organization, you have to take a quick trip down memory lane.
In 1985, an Orlando businessman by the name of Jim Hewitt approached Williams, who was at the time the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, with the idea of putting an NBA franchise in the heart of Florida’s tourism industry. A year later, Williams signed on to be the face of an investors group that successfully persuaded the NBA to put a franchise in Orlando.
In the 1989 NBA Draft, the newly named Orlando Magic was slated to pick 11th, and they used the pick to selected Anderson from the University of Illinois. Over the years to come, Williams would pair Anderson with the likes of Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal to form one of the most dominant teams in the league in the mid-90s.
The Magic’s glory days will forever be linked to one man’s determination to bring a professional basketball team to the Magic Kingdom, and one player’s willingness to be part of the construction of one of the NBA’s most revered teams.
Williams and Anderson put Orlando on the sports map. So it was only fitting for the Magic to honor the team’s founding fathers first in the Magic Hall of Fame.