ORLANDO – In just 18 days, the Orlando Magic will begin training camp.
In only 25 days, the team will take the floor for their first preseason game.
And in just over one month, the Magic will officially tip off the 35th season in franchise history when they face the Houston Rockets at Amway Center.
In honor of that milestone, the Magic held a celebration event at Amway Center on Friday morning and unveiled a new uniform and court for the 2023-24 season.
Magic CEO Alex Martins, guard Jalen Suggs, Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, and team legends Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson were all on hand for the unveiling and to discuss some of their favorite moments in franchise history in front of 35-year season ticket holders, 35-year partners, and members of the organization’s staff.
“This was a really special day and a great way to tip off our 35th anniversary celebration,” said Martins. “To have many of our legends back and share old memories and see old highlights. It seems like yesterday that we started in 1989 and here we are 35 years later. It’s going to be a great year of celebration and we’re going to have a lot of our legends back. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Each of the players in attendance were donned with uniforms from their era. Suggs sported the new 35th anniversary classic edition uniform, which paid homage to the style worn by the team from 1998-2003, including the beloved Heart & Hustle era.
“I love it, I love,” said Suggs of the new uniforms, which have the retro Magic wordmark splashed across the jersey’s front, the iconic star continuing throughout the design, and the vintage pinstripes racing along each side. “For us young guys, the new generation that feels like we’re getting ready to take that next step as a team, I don’t think there’s any better way to do it and set it up than to go to the throwbacks. Pay homage to all the O.G.s and people who laid the foundation for this organization. For us to come in as a team and continue to carry their tradition, get Amway rocking and bring some wins in here.”
The Magic also unveiled the new court design that will be featured during all classic night home games when the team will also rock the corresponding uniforms.
“I love it,” said Lewis, who was an integral part of leading the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. “The court design – I just love these colors.”
And fans won’t have to wait long to see the new court and uniforms in action. The first classic night will be on opening night when the Magic host the Rockets. Additional classic nights include nine other home games this season (Nov. 11, Dec. 20, Jan. 7, Jan. 19, Feb. 13, Mar. 3, Mar. 29, Mar. 30, and Apr. 14) as the team looks to celebrate the past while building towards the future.
“I’m a big fan of (this uniform),” said Suggs with a smile stretched across his face. “I can’t wait to rock them on game night and have this arena full of people screaming. They’ll be some good energy and great games in here.”
They’ll surely be plenty of new memories to celebrate along with old ones. As Ryan Anderson hosted a panel interview with players of the past and present, it was clear that all of the Magic legends recollect fond of their time in Orlando.
While their playing tenures stretched across various eras, to a man, they each appreciated the family-like environment that the Magic have created organizationally throughout their 35-year history.
“My favorite part was just knowing that it hasn’t changed,” said Suggs. “This family feel that we have right now, and I’ve come to love since the day that I was selected, it was here 35 years ago … Just the true love that this place brings and it holds. There’s a reason that they’re all back.”
Many of the Magic’s legends who had other stops in their playing careers were quick to stress that the organization’s culture is unique and rare.
“I think that’s what separates this organization from so many others,” said Ryan. “There’s no culture (like this) in the majority of teams … (And now, they have) good guys to build around with this group for the future.”
While Friday’s unveiling event was certainly a special blend of the past and the present, it’s only the first of many to come.