Ranking the Best Jersey Designs in Orlando Magic History
Throughout its 24-year existence, the Orlando Magic have already had four different jersey designs. Why the Magic have been so ambitious in re-designing their jersey so long is anyone's guess, but in the organization's defense, the team's primary colors are very compatible.
Orlando hit the jackpot when it decided to use blue, black and white as the official colors of the Magic. All three tones are capable of serving as the primary color of the jersey but are also versatile enough just to provide trim to the numbers, which is a technique the Magic used in multiple uniforms throughout the years.
The Magic have one of the most unique names in American sports, as it does not represent anything specific. For this reason, the franchise has had plenty of options creatively, which may help to explain the amount of re-designs.
Although sports and fashion aren't viewed as similar entities, there is a distinct relationship between the two pinnacles of culture. Jersey designs play a role in the identity of a franchise in a city, as the uniform becomes synonymous with the organization as a whole.
The Magic have played to their strengths when designing jerseys, as the uniforms they have created are eye-catching and professional looking simultaneously.
3. The Home Jersey from 1999-2003
This rendition of Orlando's uniform was the first change in the franchise's home attire. Although its tenure was short lived, the stars in the background of this white jersey made the Magic unique. Just like its predecessor, this edition of Orlando's home jersey utilized the team's name rather than the city name.
The big change to the uniform started with the removal of the pinstripes, which had been a prominent part of the previous design. While this was a relatively large stylistic change, the direction of the franchise precipitated such a modification.
This transition was important, because the Magic were in the midst of a change themselves. At the time, Orlando had not win a playoff series since the departure of Shaquille O'Neal, so the change in jersey design was meant to symbolize a new beginning.
Unfortunately, that idea didn't exactly manifest itself in Orlando's success. While Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year in 2000 in the jersey's first season, and Tracy McGrady won the Most Improved Player Award the following season, the team failed to win a playoff series.
After the 2002-2003 season, the Magic decided to ditch the stars in the background and brought back the pinstripes.
While this jersey may have been unique and a bit different, that's exactly what the Magic needed at the time.
2. Current Away Jersey 2008-Present
Even though the Magic finished the season with a horrid road record of 8-33, their players looked good in Orlando's current away uniforms. The jersey, which is blue in color, is complimented by vertical white stripes and a broad black rectangle running down the sides of the shirt.
The combination of Orlando's three colors work in unison, with the city's name adorning the front of the jersey. The major change from the previous road jersey was the addition of the black rectangle on the side, as it balanced out the overwhelming Magic blue.
Part of the appeal of this uniform to Magic fans is the nostalgia that is inherently connected to them. During their first season wearing the new away jerseys, Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic to the franchise's second Eastern Conference championship.
Although Howard is no longer with the Magic, and the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006, Orlando fans can feel confident when arguing that their team's road jersey is the league's best.
It's almost surprising that this jersey doesn't finish this list ranked first, but that's a testament to Orlando's best jersey design ever.
1. Away Jersey from 1989-1995 Then Alternate from 1995-1998
Settling on Orlando's inaugural away jerseys as the best design was easy because they were instantly in the conversation for the best road uniforms in the league. When compared to the jerseys the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies debuted in, it makes it even easier to appreciate Orlando's first set of road gear.
The first Magic road jerseys were black with white pinstripes and blue numbers. It inspired all of Orlando's jersey designs moving forward, as the pinstripes and logos on both the shirt and shorts are both present in the current uniform.
The Magic reached its first NBA Finals in this design as well, with Shaquille O'Neal leading the franchise past the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. While the success on the court was more important in the Magic gaining national relevance, the spiffy road uniforms were easy on the eyes.
Even after the Magic decided to re-design their uniforms, they were still so attached to this rendition that was selected as the alternate for another three seasons.
A variation of this road jersey is used as the current alternate, which speaks to how it helped shape Orlando's identity in central Florida and throughout the league.
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