The Orlando Magic wanted to honor Scott Skiles and Shaquille O'Neal as part of their Legends Nights program during their 25th anniversary season, but as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports, the former Magic standouts declined the team's invitations.
According to Schmitz, O'Neal "couldn't (wouldn't?) work it into his schedule." The longtime Magic scribe indicates that the current Turner analyst became the second player to turn down such an invitation, joining Skiles.
There's no question that O'Neal and Skiles merit a Legends Night honor: O'Neal stands as arguably the best player in Magic history, making an indelible mark on the franchise in just four seasons by leading it to its first NBA Finals.
Skiles, meanwhile, added spirit and moxie to the Magic as they selected him from the Indiana Pacers as part of the 1989 Expansion Draft. He spent five of his 10 NBA seasons with the Magic and won Most Improved Player honors for his performance in the 1990/91 season.
During select home games in the 2013/14 season, the Magic have invited former players and other key figures from their history back to Amway Center for a short ceremony acknowledging their accomplishments. This ceremony takes place between the first and second quarters and includes a video tribute and a halfcourt presentation featuring Alex Martins, the team's CEO.
In the days leading up to the special night, the honorees typically appear on Magic Drive Time, the team's official radio program, with Dante Marchitelli. The Magic have also distributed commemorative photos of the players they plan to honor as promotional items on game nights.
Among the players Orlando has honored with Legends Nights in its 25th anniversary season: Tracy McGrady, Penny Hardaway, and Darrell Armstrong.