The 90s Orlando Magic team was special.
The young team was composed of Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott that was tough and one of the Eastern Conference’s biggest threats not named the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls.
TNT’s Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith thinks so too!
As a member of the Houston Rockets, Smith suited up against the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Finals.
He saw potential in that young team: “You know, anytime you have a guard and a big man it’s the perfect balance,” Smith told me on Scoop B Radio.
Check out the interview with Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith and Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson below (the chat about the Orlando Magic begins at the 5:22 mark).
“They had the perfect balance and you had Penny who was so versatile that he could play inside, outside. And you had Shaq with everything that he’s done and being so young. That was the dynasty missed; dynasty missed by the Orlando Magic, for sure.”
After a brief run with the Magic, Shaq realized his worth and signed a mega contract via free agency with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the center of the future and he, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson would rule the NBA and the Western Conference in the early 2000s.
O’Neal ended up with the better career, winning multiple rings with the Lakers and then with the Miami Heat. Hardaway wasn’t as lucky.
Retrospectively, O’Neal’s time with the young Orlando Magic team is fun to examine.
Shaq had a reputation for being a practical joker on that team.
Appearing on the Scoop B & Reg Podcast, retired Orlando Magic player, Anthony Avent tells Reginald Calixte and I that Shaq hid Scott Skiles’ hair gel in the shower.
“It was a white guy who always put the gel in his hair because it puts everything back in place,” Avent told us on Scoop B & Reg.
“Then when he got out the shower, Shaq hid all the gel. So his hair was all over the place and he could not get his hair in order to go out in public and greet his family and everybody because Shaq hid all of his gel!”
After O’Neal’s departure, he’d be the team’s lone star, but struggled with a devastating injury that cut short his promising career. After his time with the Magic, he’d bounce around the league playing for the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Miami Heat before retiring in 2007.