Ryan's Place

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Magic Hire Nick Anderson!!



From Tim Povtak at The Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Magic took a big step Monday in their recent embrace-the-past movement by hiring all-time leading scorer Nick Anderson, their first draft pick in 1989.

Anderson played 10 seasons with the Magic and scored 10,650 points before being traded to the Sacramento Kings in 1999.

"I'm going to be a goodwill ambassador," said Anderson, who obviously was excited about his new position. "I'm back home where I started, and where I belong. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time.''

Anderson has been living in the Atlanta area since he retired from the NBA in 2002, but he has remained popular with many of the Magic fans who followed the team in the early years.

He was one of three earlier-era players the Magic honored last season, joining Dennis Scott and Scott Skiles in having a banner hung in their honor at TD Waterhouse Centre.

"Maybe my face will bring back some fans,'' he said. "I'm a community man. Always have been, always will be. I love this place. It's like my family.''

Anderson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, averaged 15.4 points in Orlando. He was key in the Magic's finest season when they reached the 1995 NBA Finals, teaming with Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant and Scott to form a very young but very potent lineup.

He is best remembered for two contrasting playoff moments that year. In the semifinal round of Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls, he stole the ball in the closing seconds from Michael Jordan, leading to a thrilling victory that set the tone for the series. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, though, he missed four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds against the Houston Rockets, costing his team a victory and leading to a four-game sweep.

Anderson had made a couple of appearances for the Magic recently in a trial role. The Magic were impressed with the way he was received. He will play a major part in their Summer Tour that will make stops in Tampa, Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, DeLand and Leesburg in the coming weeks.

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