Unsurprisingly, the Orlando Magic won’t be represented in this year’s NBA All-Star Game. Historically however, that has not been the case.
Over this extended All-Star break, we’ll be looking back on how Magic players have previously fared during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Five of these pieces will be looking back on how Orlando players performed in the All-Star Game.
In the All-Star Game, defense tends to take a backseat. For Orlando Magic players in the All-Star Game however, there have been some memorable defensive efforts. Here’s a look at the five highest steals total for Magic players:
T-4. Anfernee Hardaway – 2 steals (1996 and 1997)
Anfernee Hardaway came away with two steals in consecutive All-Star Games in 1996 and 1997. In the 1996 All-Star Game, only Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls and Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks had more for the East in a 129-118 victory in San Antonio. The following year, Hardaway’s two steals tied a game-high as the East won in Cleveland, 132-120.
T-4. Tracy McGrady – 2 steals (2001)
Tracy McGrady finished with just two points and one rebound in his first All-Star Game appearance in Washington D.C. in 2001. McGrady did however, come away with two steals. Among Eastern Conference players, only Allen Iverson had more in a thrilling 111-110 win over the Western Conference.
T-1. Shaquille O’Neal – 3 steals (1995)
Shaquille O’Neal was always known as a force in the middle with the ability to score, rebound and block shots. In the 1995 NBA All-Star Game, O’Neal led the Eastern Conference with 22 points. He also led the team and tied a game-high with three steals. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough as the West won 139-112 in Phoenix.
T-1. Tracy McGrady – 3 steals (2002)
Another player known for his offense, Tracy McGrady showed that he could defend as well in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. In addition to leading the East with 24 points, McGrady also tied a game-high with three steals in a 135-120 loss to the West in Philadelphia. Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks and Gary Payton of the Seattle SuperSonics also each had three steals. Coincidentally, Allen and Payton would be traded for one another the following season.
T-1. Dwight Howard – 3 steals (2008)
Like McGrady and O’Neal, Howard could score the basketball. Most however, would concede that he is the greatest defensive player in Magic history. Fittingly, Howard also holds a spot atop this list. In the 2008 NBA All-Star Game, Howard led the East with nine rebounds and finished second on the team with three steals. Among Eastern Conference players, only Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets had more steals in a 134-128 win in New Orleans.