We had been waiting for the Magic’s cameo in “The Last Dance.”
On Sunday, in Episode 8, we finally got it.
The 1994-1995 Orlando Magic had a prominent role in Michael Jordan’s basketball return. They, of course, defeated the Bulls in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals shortly after Jordan’s return to the NBA. They were the driving force behind Jordan switching from No. 45 back to 23 (Nick Anderson, in particular). And they were the spark that motivated Jordan and the Bulls to dominate the NBA like no team had before when they went 72-10 the following season and swept the Magic in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals en route to their second three-peat.
We relived these moments on Sunday as “The Last Dance” took us on a trip down memory lane.
And Twitter responded....
It took 8 episodes but they FINALLY acknowledge Penny and Shaq and the Orlando Magic— The Red Sox Trippin For Trading Mookie ♂️ (@YO_stay_loud) May 11, 2020
Michael Jordan playing against the Magic in Orlando was the most 90s moment of the 90s— rone’s gamblin corner (@_rone) May 11, 2020
The two most memorable carry-offs in Chicago Sports: Bears defense carrying off Buddy Ryan after the Super Bowl and the Magic carrying off Horace Grant after the Magic beat the Bulls— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 11, 2020
That 1995 Orlando team was the 10th best offense, ever. Their Offensive Rating of 115.1, through 1995, was the 4th best offense in history.— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) May 11, 2020
People conveniently forget that the Orlando Magic stopped the Bulls (with Michael Jordan playing) from going to the 1995 NBA Finals pic.twitter.com/CnCy0L0nay— J. (@jshyb_) May 10, 2020
This Magic team had:— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) May 11, 2020
Good Nick Anderson
Good Dennis Scott
They wasn’t no scrubs
One of MJ’s lowest moments is losing in the 2nd Round to a team with Shaq and Penny and All-Star Horace Grant after missing 21 months of basketball.— I Don’t Eat Bread (@PBS_Impulse9) May 11, 2020
In case you forgot how dominant Orlando Shaq was ... pic.twitter.com/HEdUCjnC3u— MJs GOAT (@MjsGoat) May 9, 2020
Penny Hardaway sitting down whatever recruit he is helping move today and saying “look at how I knocked MJ out of the playoffs” #TheLastDance— Mark (@markacollier22) May 11, 2020
ESPN didn’t want to show what Shaq was doing to Longley lol— BEAN (@MGRADS) May 11, 2020
I don’t think anyone that didn’t live it will ever understand how good Penny was before the injuries. He was the best guard in the NBA in his 2nd year.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) May 11, 2020
That’s crazy. Shaq and Penny can say they beat Michael Jordan in a playoff series in the mid 90’s. pic.twitter.com/GdylG3GVtE— Ball Don't Stop (@balldontstop) May 11, 2020
How can you say this guy isnt the goat? I dont get it.— Evan Fournier (@EvanFourmizz) May 11, 2020
Horace Grant on the cover of the Si NBA preview for 94-95 pic.twitter.com/UOW36Uvq56— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 11, 2020
The whole purpose of the Bulls bringing in Rodman was to match him up against Horace and the Magic. Not one sentence on it. #TheLastDance— Adam Papageorgiou, MBA (@PapageorgiouMBO) May 11, 2020
I think this always gets massively overshadowed by how dominant the Bulls were in the 90s but we don’t talk enough about how good the Magic were just five years after becoming a franchise pic.twitter.com/O6DBTd5944— Beek (@beekachuuu) May 11, 2020
In the time you spent reading this tweet we have spent more time covering the Magic beating the Bulls than they did in the entire MJ doc.— The Sixth Man Show (@SixthManShow) May 11, 2020
Don’t ever forget, the Magic beat the Bulls. Nick Anderson stole the ball. #MagicAboveAll #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/av0XNyyMwc
It appears the narrative #TheLastDance is going with is Jordan was tired and that is why the #Bulls lost in 1995. Certainly it played a role, but you have to give that #Magic team it's due. The #Bulls had their shots in that series, they got beat by the better team.— Orlando Magic Daily (@OMagicDaily) May 11, 2020
Anybody know what happened after the Bulls lost to Orlando? pic.twitter.com/hgFgjTmDYs— Jerome Solomon (@JeromeSolomon) May 11, 2020
Nick Anderson was a very good player, BUT the first thing I remember is him missing those free throws. I really think that series is different if Magic wins Game 1 pic.twitter.com/dadrcfvEWl— Robert Littal (@BSO) May 11, 2020
“45 isn’t 23.” — Nick Anderson, exceptional s**t-talker and world-class mathematician— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) May 11, 2020
Damn the series lost(rusty), MJ so cold that he went from 45 to 23 from game 1 to game 2 in the playoffs! Haha. That’s legendary! #LivingLegend— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 11, 2020
After Bulls lost to Magic in 1995 NBA playoffs, Michael Jordan told trainer Tim Grover, "I'll see you tomorrow."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 11, 2020
After that loss to the Magic, Jordan played in all 82 games the following season.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) May 11, 2020
And 82 games in the season after that.
And 82 games in his final season in Chicago.
Never missed another game as a Bull, including the playoffs
This doc trying to give me the 1996 Magic-Bulls highlights when I’m still basking in the glow of the 1995 highlights. pic.twitter.com/hLgltgeS1l— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) May 11, 2020
“And the Bulls have swept the Orlando Magic”— Andrew Claudio (@AndrewJClaudio_) May 11, 2020
Considering they’re still one of the newer franchises, the Orlando Magic have had so many “What if...?” moments:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 11, 2020
-Penny getting hurt
-Tim Duncan and airplanes
-Grant Hill’s ankle
That’s a lot in a relatively short time.#TheLastDance
You weren’t even born then— Nikola Vucevic (@NikolaVucevic) May 11, 2020
Again, another reminder that was Shaq’s last game in a Magic uniform because they weren’t trying to give him Rashard Lewis money.— I Don’t Eat Bread (@PBS_Impulse9) May 11, 2020
Other generations of Magic fans got to watch Penny and Shaq and Horace and Nick Anderson. We get Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic.— ✭ (@PreacherJudah) May 11, 2020