That Magic Moment
What it's about: Winning the NBA Draft Lottery can change a franchise. Winning two, in a row, can change the league. When Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway were picked by the Orlando Magic in back-to-back Drafts, they created a young super team destined to win multiple titles. The men, along with veterans including Horace Grant and Nick Anderson, picked off Jordan's Bulls in 1995 and were overwhelming favorites in the Finals before their inexperience finally caught up to them against the defending champs from Houston. When Hardaway's rising profile created a rift between the All-Stars, Shaq left for L.A. The rest is history.
What it's really about: You don't know what you got until it's gone. A lack of maturity, and a failure of confidence after losing game one in humiliating fashion to the Rockets in the 1995 Finals destroyed what was a potential NBA juggernaut. Everyone made it out alive, and went on to have solid careers (you may have heard of Shaquille O'Neal), but it's worth wondering what could have been, and how the NBA might have been different, if egos had not gotten in the way.
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