ESPN aired the documentary of This Magic Moment last night which chronicled the years of Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway with the Orlando Magic.
The documentary brought back nostalgic memories of my childhood. The Magic was the first team I rooted for as a kid, I mean Shaq was a big kid himself so the team was very relate-able. I actually had a cardboard cutout of Shaq in my room growing up that I would leave near the window to produce a shadow so people could think some tall guy was home if anyone ever tried to break in. Then there was Penny the 6’9 Point Guard that could do it all, a player with so much promise before injuries started to take a toll. Growing up and still to this day I never cared too much about following the crowd, so while everyone was ranting and raving about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls I cheered for the Magic.
The Magic made one finals appearance during the Shaq and Penny years, it was a lost to the Houston Rockets. The following season after the defeat as the documentary shared, the team started to fall apart thereafter as the players egos became too much to handle and coexist. Shaq signed a Free Agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers after the season and Penny body started to break down. I was 10 years old when Shaq left Orlando for LA and I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around how someone could just leave, this was my first introduction into Free Agency. Penny was later traded to the Phoenix Suns.
The stretch the Magic had in the mid 90’s was great to watch. The team was young, vibrant and very exciting to watch especially as a first introduction to the game of basketball for my younger self. The team had their up and downs but was also able to enjoy their fair share of triumph before things started to fall apart.
The documentary overall was great, in my opinion. It was great seeing the old gang back together guys like Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott, Horace Grant, and Coach Brian Hill.
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