Eight months before Orlando was awarded an NBA franchise in April 1987, the city had already named its team.
When Orlando businessman Jim Hewitt and former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams came together in an effort to bring an NBA team to Orlando, they decided it was best to give the franchise a name - even though a team had yet to be awarded to the city.
So a contest was held with the Orlando Sentinel for fans to submit their picks for the name of the future team. A total of 4,296 entries were submitted and after a committee was selected to review the entries, four names emerged as finalists - the "Heat", the "Tropics", the "Juice" and the "Magic".
While the group pondered which one of the finalists would be selected, Williams' 7-year-old daughter, Karen, paid a visit to her father from the family's home in Philadelphia. After spending some time together checking out Orlando's attractions, Pat took Karen to the airport for her flight home.
As she waited for her flight, Karen said something that would leave a lasting an impression on the city of Orlando.
Behind The Name
Along with the influence from Karen's comment, the committee was able to whittle away at the other finalists. They thought the "Heat" left a negative connotation to the area, that the "Tropics" referred more to South Florida than Central Florida and that the "Juice" wouldn't be received too strongly after a terrible winter freeze had devastated the citrus industry.
The committee decided to go with the Magic, saying the name referred to the magic of Orlando - a tourist hotspot with lots to offer visitors and those who called the area home.
Four months after the Magic was publicly announced as the name of Orlando's future NBA franchise, the Miami franchise selected the name "Heat", which was also submitted in their naming contest.