Magic Replace Stolen Team Memorabilia at Wells'Built Museum

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Cheering people up when they’re feeling down and putting smiles on their faces is something the Orlando Magic do often.

When they learned about a burglary that took place in February at Parramore’s Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture, where Magic memorabilia was stolen, the team quickly sprang into action and lent a helping hand.

Although extremely disheartened about the incident, the Magic saw an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade.

Not only did they help repair the damage from the break-in, the Magic replaced the stolen items, which included Nick Anderson and Otis Smith jerseys and sneakers, with even more mementos.

The new Magic exhibit, featuring autographed Grant Hill and Vince Carter jerseys, a Dwight Howard signed basketball and dunk contest photo, a 30th anniversary framed poster and several other team keepsakes, was unveiled on Thursday.

“It’s important that we have a presence here, but it’s more important that this museum continues to function as a very important part of our community,” Magic Vice President of Social Responsibility Linda Landman Gonzalez said. “So we’re very happy to be allowed to come back and replenish what was stolen and at the same time it’s always great to come back and see what treasures are here at the museum.”

Formerly a hotel for African Americans visiting Orlando during the segregation era, the Wells’Built Museum houses memorabilia from the city’s African American community and the Civil Rights movement while showcasing African art and artifacts.

With the venue located directly across the street from the Amway Center, the museum’s staff are glad to know their neighbors are this compassionate and are willing to go above and beyond to shed light on the city's history.

“We’re just happy to have neighbors that support us and care about us, but then also allow us to further our mission, which is bringing education to the community,” Wells’Built Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Thompson said. “We’re so happy to have the new memorabilia and the new and improved exhibit.”

Participating in the refurbishment of the museum meant a great deal to Anderson, the Magic’s first ever draft pick who played 10 seasons in Orlando, and fellow Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw, who had two separate stints with the team.

Both are extremely honored to be a big part of Orlando’s rich history and are even prouder to be in a position where they can give back to the community.

“That’s a big deal, the history that was taken in February during Black History Month was disturbing but the fact that we can put more history in there and make more history is a great thing,” Outlaw said. “This is an opportunity for the Magic, as we are very proud to be in the community, (to) let people know that we do support our community as much as you support us.”

“I’ve been around here since 1989 and to know about the museum and to ride past down the street and see the items hanging in the window and other things when you come in, you get to see so much history,” Anderson said. “I’m just happy to be a part of history, be a part of the Orlando Magic and the partnership that they have here.”

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