5 best players who played for the Magic that you forgot about
Even the most avid of NBA fans are unable to keep a mental record of every team all the greats have ever played in. That’s just impossible. This is especially the case when these stints are rather forgettable or possibly short-lived. Aside from Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, and Penny Hardaway, a few more stars played for the Orlando Magic that flew way under the radar.
Below we have five players that once donned the Orlando Magic pinstripes that you likely completely forgot about or maybe didn’t even know about. Read on below to test your knowledge on Magic franchise history. If by the end of this piece you get a five-out-of-five, then you my friend, are a bona fide, non-bandwagoner Orlando Magic fan.
Shawn Kemp was the definition of a one-man show. But not everyone knows the show had a stopover in Orlando once upon a time. He of course played much of his career with the Seattle SuperSonics, forming one of the greatest dos of all time with Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton. Throughout his career, Kemp made the All-Star team six consecutive times, and also made three appearances on the All-NBA team.
The last stop in Kemp’s decorated career was in Orlando, where he played his final season during the 2002-03 campaign. He became a free agent in the previous summer, and decided to sign with the Magic.
At 33 years of age, the 6-foot-10 big man managed 6.8 points and 5.7 rebounds for Orlando in a total of 79 games played. Kemp retired after that season.
Speaking of highlight headliners, Dominique Wilkins was himself a must-see attraction. Similar to Kemp, Wilkins chose Orlando as the final stop of his illustrious career. A former nine-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA team member, and the 1986 scoring champion of the league, Wilkins was a shadow of his former self when he signed for the Magic as a free agent during the 1998-99 campaign.
Wilkins was actually coming off a stint in the Italian professional basketball league before he got the call from the Magic. He pounced on the opportunity, but it was clear that he was no longer the Dominique Wilkins of old. In 27 games played for Orlando, he averaged a miserable 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 9.3 minutes per contest. To be fair, he was already 39 at that time.
Orlando eventually waived Wilkins at the end of the season, and at that time, the legend knew that his time in the NBA had come to an end.
While most folks will remember Gilbert Arenas as that crazy guy who once brought a loaded gun inside the locker room to threaten a teammate, he was actually also a tremendous on-court talent. It’s a shame that his antics off the court overshadow his greatness as a player, but such are the consequences he has to suffer because of his reckless behavior.
For Arenas, it was actually in Orlando when the beginning of the end started for him. The Washington Wizards had finally had enough of him, and decided to trade him to the Magic in December 2010 in exchange for Rashard Lewis.
The former three-time All-Star had a terrible stint with the Magic, averaging just 8.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. Arenas was clearly hampered by a lingering knee issue that robbed him of his explosiveness from earlier in his career.
The Magic eventually waived Arenas in December of 2011 after having played 49 games for the team.
Today, Stever Kerr is most known for being the man at the helm that led the Golden State Warriors to that unprecedented dynasty in the 2010’s. During his playing days, he was most remembered for being part of another dynasty — the Chicago Bulls of Micheal Jordan, with whom Kerr won three championships with.
However, what most may have overlooked was how Kerr actually played half a season for the Magic during the 1992-93 campaign. Coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was traded mid-season to Orlando, where he ended up playing a total of 47 games for the squad. During that span, the 6-foot-3 guard logged just 2.6 points and 1.3 assists in 9.4 minutes per contest.
What could have easily been a slow exit from the league instead led to Kerr’s most memorable seasons on a contender. That summer, Kerr became a free agent and decided to sign up with the Bulls. The rest is history.
When you say Ben Wallace you think Detroit Pistons, right? It was during his time in the Motor City that the four-time Defensive Player of the Year winner terrorized the league as the best defender in the entire NBA.
What you may have forgotten about Wallace is that he actually played with the Magic for one season, and this was prior to making it big in Detroit. Wallace arrived in Orlando via a trade deal in the 1999 offseason from the Washington Wizards.
Wallace played 81 games for the Magic that season, averaging a respectable 4.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per contest. It was clear at this point that the 6-foot-9 big man that while he wasn’t exactly a big time scorer, he was well on his way to becoming a dominant defensive force.
The following summer, the Magic sent Wallace to Detroit in a deal centered around the great Grant Hill.