The Orlando Magic's Mount Rushmore

Adam WilliamsCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2014

FILE -- Orlando Magic center Shaquille O'Neal (32) hangs onto the rim after a powerful slam dunk during the first quarter fo their Eastern Conference Semifinal game against the Atlanta Hawks May 8, 1996 in Orlando.  Defending on the play is Hawks Grant Long (43), left, Horace Grant (54) and Christian Laettner (32) , right. The NBA imposed a lockout Tuesday morning July 9, 1996 after contract talks with the players' union broke down, further delaying the opening of the biggest free agent market in league history. he move halted today's expected free-agent frenzy, with such superstars as O'Neal, Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller up for grabs. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)
PETER COSGROVE/Associated Press

 

The Orlando Magic and Mount Rushmore aren't two entities you typically hear together. However, with all of the recent talks about who belongs on the NBA's all-time great shortlist, it got me wondering who would belong on the Magic's all-time Mount Rushmore?

First of all, all of this was all brought to light by several current NBA stars listing their own individual Mount Rushmore’s.

First to make the statement was LeBron James:

Then Kevin Durant responded with his own view:

Lastly, Kobe Bryant was even inclined to voice his opinion:

 

Ingo Arndt/ Minden Pictures/Associated Press

So who should be on the Mount Rushmore of the Orlando Magic?

Even with only 25 years in existence as a franchise, the Magic have had many great players don the blue pinstripes. However, only a select few make the team’s all-time Mount Rushmore.

 

Just Off the List

A couple players just narrowly miss their spot on the monument.

Darrell Armstrong: He may not have been the most talented Magic player, but he was a fan favorite. Armstrong brought the heart and hustle, leading and inspiring with a well-rounded skill set.

Nick Anderson: In 10 season with Orlando, he averaged 15.4 points, 5.3 boards, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Being the first-ever draft pick for the Magic, he was the face of the franchise for quite some time and played a key role in the Magic's NBA finals run in 1995.

 

The Official Mount Rushmore of the Orlando Magic

ORLANDO - JUNE 4:  Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Orlando Magic celebrates after defeating the Indian Pacers following Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 1995 NBA Playoffs at the Orlando Arena on June 4, 1995 in Orlando, Florida. The Orla
Barry Gossage/Getty Images

  

Shaquille O’Neal 

Apr 07, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic defeated the Sixers 88-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In his four years with the Magic, Shaq averaged an astounding 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.7 blocks per game. The "Great Aristotle" is regarded as one of the greatest centers to ever play the game.

Shaq had a gigantic impact (literally) on the Orlando franchise, leading the team to an NBA finals appearance just six years after the birth of the franchise itself. He undoubtedly belongs on the Magic’s monument.

 

Dwight Howard

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 15:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Orlando Magic drives upcourt during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 15, 2004 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 113-110.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Although Dwight Howard’s eventful departure from the Magic left a sour taste in the mouth of nearly every Magic fan, there’s no denying what he did for the franchise and the dominant presence he provided on the court.

During his eight-year career with Orlando, Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13.0 boards, 1.5 assists and 2.2 blocks per game. Although he wasn't the offensive force that Shaq was, Howard was a monster on the defensive side, as well as on the glass.

Despite his controversial departure, Howard absolutely belongs as one of the four Magic players on the all-time monument.

 

Tracy McGrady

25 Dec 1993:  Guard Penny Hardaway of the Orlando Magic moves the ball during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game, 95-93. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Jonath
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In T-Mac’s four years with the Magic, he put up some ridiculous stats, averaging 28.1 points, 7.0 boards, 5.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. McGrady was unstoppable on the offensive end in Orlando, leading the entire NBA in scoring back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004.

Although McGrady wasn't able to replicate the same success later in his career with Houston, he is still the best pure scorer in Magic history and without question belongs on the Magic’s monument.

 

Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway

If it weren't for injuries, Penny Hardaway was poised to become one of the greatest point guards of all time. His height and versatility compared likely to that of Magic Johnson.

For the Magic, he averaged 19 points, 4.7 boards, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. When healthy, Hardaway was a perennial All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Team selection, leading the way alongside Shaq in 1995 to an NBA Finals appearance.

Many people forget just how great Penny Hardaway was before the injuries set it, for he undoubtedly belongs on the Magic’s monument.

 

Conclusion

Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady and Penny Hardaway all undoubtedly make up the four best players in Orlando Magic history, and all have certified spots on the Orlando Magic’s ultimate Mount Rushmore.