Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend | Magic Basketball

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Apr 14

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

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AP Photo/Brian Cleary

Although Amway Arena, also referred to as the “O-Rena” by the locals, won’t be officially closing its doors tonight, it will be hosting the last ever regular season game for the Orlando Magic. That’s 21 years and 844 regular season games, for those keeping count.

A number have writers (like Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, for example) have taken a retrospective look at the arena’s history but John Denton’s article at OrlandoMagic.com stands out from the rest, as he goes above and beyond to interview Magic players, executives, and coaches who have spent the majority of their professional careers in Orlando:

Amway Arena, one of the NBA’s most intimate and noisiest venues, has been host to many of the grandest moments in the 21-year history of the Magic history. From the first preseason victory in 1989 against the defending World Champion Detroit Pistons to the Game 7 defeat of Indiana in 1995 that put the Magic into the Finals for the first time to the conquest of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East Finals last spring, Amway Arena has seen its share of magical moments. [...]

Of course, Amway Arena’s most memorable moment of all was Nick Anderson’s steal of Michael Jordan in the second round of the playoffs in 1995, a play that resulted in a game-winning dunk by Horace Grant. Rarely does a game go by that Anderson isn’t reminded of the play that defined his storied career with the Magic.

“The fans remind me about it more so than me reminding myself,” said Anderson, Orlando’s first-ever draft pick. “I get people all the time saying I was there that night that Nick Anderson stole the ball from Michael Jordan. The fans remind me, and it’s a good feeling that the fans remember and respect some of the things that I did out on the floor back in the day.”