ORLANDO - The Orlando Magic inducted John Gabriel and Brian Hill into the team’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday, March 2 in Amway Center, near the Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience. Gabriel and Hill become the 10th and 11th inductees into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame.
In addition to the induction ceremony, Gabriel and Hill will be honored tonight during Orlando’s game vs. Indiana.
“Both Gabe (John Gabriel) and Brian (Hill) are intertwined with the history of our franchise,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “With their leadership, we not only reached our first NBA Finals in 1995, but continue to use their skills and guidance to this day. We are proud to induct them together into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame.”
Gabriel has spent nearly 40 years in the NBA. He began his career with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1982, where he served in a number of capacities, including scouting coordinator and assistant coach. During his first year in Philadelphia (1982-83), the Sixers captured the NBA World Championship.
Gabriel has been with the Orlando Magic organization for a total of 19 seasons and 21 years. He was brought to Orlando by Pat Williams to help build the Magic in 1987 – two years before the team started play as their first basketball operations hire. Gabriel served various roles within the organization, including director of player personnel, director of scouting and assistant coach. In January of 1994, he was named vice president of basketball operations/player personnel, then was promoted to general manager on April 29, 1996, staying in that role until March of 2004. Gabriel is currently an executive advisor to the Magic’s basketball operations department.
Gabriel’s formula for success involved die-hard dedication, never-ending enthusiasm, hard work, heart and hustle. He was responsible for building the Magic roster that went to the 1995 NBA Finals, when the organization had only been in existence in the NBA for six years. During his first tenure with the Magic, Orlando posted 11 consecutive seasons with a .500-plus record (1992-03), while making eight trips to the NBA Playoffs.
Gabriel was then the architect of the re-launching of the Magic, making 55 transactions involving 51 different players from June 14, 1999 until August 15, 2000. He also acquired perhaps the most important free agent of all during that summer, signing Doc Rivers as the team’s head coach. Rivers went on to win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 1999-2000, while Gabriel himself was named the NBA Executive of the Year.
During the summer of 2000, Gabriel spearheaded the signing of two of the most coveted free agents available in five-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, who became an All-NBA First Team member in 2001-02 and 2002-03, and two-time NBA scoring champion.
Gabriel has spent countless hours on the road, evaluating prospects in the NBA, CBA, college, and international levels. He also coordinated the Magic’s rookie/free agent camps.
After leaving the Magic in 2004, Gabriel spent time with Portland as director of pro scouting, then with New York as their director of free agency. He played point guard at Kutztown State University near Philadelphia, PA, where he studied art education and graduated in 1978. Gabriel was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.
Gabriel and his wife, Dorothy, have two daughters, Amelia and Meredith, and one son, Jack. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007. For two years (2019-21), Gabriel served as president of the Parkinson Association of Central Florida. Under his leadership, the Association raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Parkinson’s programs throughout the region and made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many in Central Florida.
Hill served as head coach of the Orlando Magic from 1993-97 and again from 2005-07, compiling a record of 267-192 (.582). His 267 wins are the most by any head coach in franchise history. Hill also currently serves as an executive advisor to the Magic’s basketball operations department, a position he has held since 2018, and returns for his ninth season as pregame/postgame analyst for Orlando Magic games on Bally Sports Florida.
Hill’s extensive coaching resume spans 45 years. His NBA career began in Atlanta in 1986, serving as an assistant coach under Mike Fratello. After four seasons with the Hawks, Hill joined the Magic in 1990 as an assistant coach to Matt Guokas. He was promoted to head coach on June 30, 1993 and the impact on the team was immediate.
During Hill’s time as head coach of the Magic, Orlando reached the playoffs four times, including the first postseason berth in franchise history (1993-94), captured two division titles (1994-95, 1995-96), made two Eastern Conference Finals appearances (1995, 1996) and earned a trip to the 1995 NBA Finals. He guided the team to a franchise-record 60 wins during the 1995-96 season, a record that still stands today. From March 21, 1995 to March 19, 1996, Hill also led the Magic to 40 consecutive wins at home, which set an NBA record. He was named NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November 2006 and was head coach of the Eastern Conference at the 1995 NBA All-Star Game.
From 1997-99, Hill was head coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies for two-plus seasons. He has an overall NBA head coaching record of 298-315 (.486). Hill also served an assistant coach in the NBA with New Orleans, New Jersey and Detroit.
Hill’s coaching career also includes high school and 14 years at the collegiate level. He began as an assistant at Montclair State (NJ) in 1972 and held assistant coaching positions at Lehigh University and Penn State. Hill served as head coach at Lehigh for eight seasons from 1975-83.
Hill and his wife, Kay, have two children, Kimberly and Christopher. The Hill family has been active in hosting fundraising events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In March 2006, the Hills were honored with the prestigious Jefferson Awards for Public Service, which were established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Bears to create a Nobel prize for public and community service.
The Orlando Magic Hall of Fame honors and celebrates the great players, coaches and executives who have had a major impact during the team’s illustrious 33-year history. The HOF bridges the past with the future of Magic basketball, and the exhibit, located in Amway Center on the terrace level near Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience, provides Magic fans an opportunity to learn some Magic history while in the building. The inductees are selected based on their overall on and off the court contributions to the team and organization, years of service, impact in the community and general character of the individual.