when i mentioned to my brother last month that i needed a documentary for june, he replied that he had been waiting for me to return so we could watch espn’s 30for30 episode entitled this magic moment together. so one afternoon that is exactly what we did.
this magic moment looks at the orlando magic teams of the mid-90s, tracing their unlikely rise to the top of the nba and their unbelievable crash just a few years later. with cameos from former players and coaches – including shaq and penny – the film looks at the highs and lows of the team that will forever be known as one of the best to never win it all.
when orlando was granted an expansion nba team in the early 90s, everyone was curious to see how the city of mickey mouse would embrace professional basketball. the team wasn’t great in their first few seasons, but then they hit the jackpot, landing the number 1 pick in the draft the year shaquille o’neal was entering the nba. there was no question who they would be drafting, and shaq made an immediate impact on orlando’s reputation.
through an unbelievable stroke of luck, the magic got the number 1 pick again the following year, drafting chris webber out of michigan. after trading him to the warriors for penny hardaway, the magic had their core group ready to go. with their two superstars under the age of 25 and just beginning their careers, they had nowhere to go but up. so up they went.
within two years, the magic made it to the nba finals, losing a heartbreaker to the houston rockets. and within two years of that loss, shaq had signed with the lakers and penny had experienced the first of many injuries that would plague his career for years to come. the team that rose to the top so fast had plummeted just as quickly, and no one really seemed to know what had happened.
although i vaguely remember those great magic teams of the mid-90s, i learned so much from this magic moment. it was so interesting to see how the young players meshed with the old veterans, how shaq and penny’s relationship became fractured when their rival brands pitted them against one another, and to wonder what would have happened if shaq had stayed, if penny hadn’t gotten hurt, and if michael jordan hadn’t returned to basketball in the spring of ’95. there are so many “what ifs” surrounding those magic teams that it makes my head spin.
this magic moment was a great film – as all the 30for30s are – and it was so fun to watch it with my brother and relive those years with him. it’s definitely one to check out, especially if you are a basketball fan.