Last week, the NBA retired the No. 6 across the league in honor of legendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. An 11-time NBA champion as a player, Russell was as revered for his contributions off the court as he was on it.
In Orlando Magic history, only Patrick Ewing wore No. 6. A legendary center in his own right with the New York Knicks, Ewing spent the final season of his career with the Magic.
While the No. 6 doesn’t hold any great reverence for Orlando fans, there are some numbers that do. Here’s a look at the top five jersey numbers in Magic history:
5. No. 32
Top players: Shaquille O’Neal
Others: Otis Smith, Jeremy Richardson, Justin Harper, C.J. Watson
Most associate the No. 32 with Shaquille O’Neal and probably no one else when it comes to Orlando, but Shaq was that good. Although he spent just four seasons with Orlando, O’Neal made the All-Star Game every year.
During his time with the Magic, O’Neal averaged 27.2 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 58% from the field. During the 1994-95 season, O’Neal averaged a league-best 29.3 points per contest while leading Orlando to its first NBA Finals appearance.
4. No. 33
Top players: Grant Hill, Terry Catledge, Ryan Anderson
Others: Derek Strong, Stephen Zimmerman, Adreian Payne, Robin Lopez
Grant Hill struggled to stay healthy during his time with the Orlando Magic, playing in less than 35% of the team’s games over his seven years with the team. Hill did average better than 16 points and five rebounds per contest when healthy. He also made two All-Star appearances in an Orlando uniform.
Hill isn’t the only reason that No. 33 makes the list, however. Terry Catledge, a 6-foot-8 forward with a nice shooting stroke, was a top player early in the Magic’s history. In four total seasons with Orlando, Catledge averaged better than 15 points per contest.
Forward Ryan Anderson also wore the number well. Anderson spent just two seasons in Orlando, but was a marksman from deep. During the 2011-12 season, Anderson averaged better than 16 points and nearly eight rebounds en route to earning the honor as the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
3. No. 12
Top players: Dwight Howard, Tobias Harris
Others: Joe Wolf, Derek Harper, Chris Whitney, Gary Clark, Sindarius Thornwell, Hassani Gravett
Center Dwight Howard makes a strong case for the greatest player in franchise history. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Howard led the Magic to their second NBA Finals appearance in 2009. He was also a six-time All-Star for the Magic and the only player in league history to win three straight Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard led the NBA in rebounds per game four times as a member of the Magic and in blocks per game twice.
In parts of four seasons with the Magic, forward Tobias Harris also wore the number well. In more than 200 games in Orlando, Harris averaged nearly 16 points and seven rebounds per contest. Although he played in just 27 games for the Magic during the 2012-13 season, his 17.3 points per game average was tops on the team.
2. No. 9
Top players: Rashard Lewis, Nikola Vucevic
Others: Gerald Wilkins, Tim Kempton, Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Drew Gooden, DeShawn Stevenson
The last two players to wear No. 9 for the Magic each made All-Star games with the franchise. Rashard Lewis was a key piece to Orlando’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals and earned All-Star honors for just the second time in his career that season. Over four seasons in Orlando, Lewis averaged better than 16 points and five rebounds while shooting 40% from deep.
The face of the franchise during the post-Howard era was another Orlando center, Nikola Vucevic. A 7-footer with good outside touch, Vucevic was a two-time All-Star for the Magic. In nearly 600 games with the Magic, Vucevic averaged nearly 18 points and 11 rebounds per contest while shooting 50% from the field.
While Lewis and Vucevic were the only All-Stars to wear No. 9 for the Magic, Gerald Wilkins, Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Drew Gooden, DeShawn Stevenson all enjoyed seasons where they averaged in double figures scoring for Orlando.
1. No. 1
Top players: Anfernee Hardaway, Tracy McGrady
Others: Kiwane Lemorris Garris, Doug Christie, Trevor Ariza, Maurice Evans, Rafer Alston, Gilbert Arenas, Von Wafer, Doron Lamb, Jonathan Isaac
While two Orlando All-Stars have worn No. 9, No. 1 is the only jersey number in Magic history to be worn by multiple All-Star starters. Anfernee Hardaway and Tracy McGrady are inarguably the two best guards in Magic history and both wore the number.
In six seasons with the Magic, Hardaway averaged 19 points and better than 20 points per game three times. Hardaway could fill up the stat sheet, averaging 4.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game during his time in Orlando. He was a four-time All-Star.
During his time in Orlando, McGrady blossomed into one of the NBA’s premier scorers. A two-time scoring champion, McGrady made the All-Star Game in each of his four seasons with the Magic. McGrady holds the single-game Magic scoring record with 62 points against the Washington Wizards in March 2004. His 28.1 points per game average with Orlando is the highest in team history.