|Description||Clear plastic with paper ticket inside. On ticket obverse is "NBA 94 / PLAY / OFFS / MAGIC / GAME A / 1994 PLAYOFFS / SECTION VIP ROW A SEAT 1 / 1994 / NBA / PLAYOFFS / INAUGURAL / PLAYOFF GAME". Shows bouncing basketballs, yellow stars, and green exclamation points on green background that turns to blue near top with green border. Reverse reads, "WE BELIEVE IN ORLANDO / MAGIC / PEPSI JOINS MAGIC FANS EVERYWHERE IN CELEBRATING / ORLANDO'S FIRST TRIP TO THE NBA PLAYOFFS!", over "NBA" in large pale pink letters. On right is "1994" in pale pink, on left is "1994" in pale purple, and "PLAYOFFS" also in pale purple across bottom. Top of plaque, or bar, is secured to bottom with brass brads.|
1993-94: Magic Acquire A Million-Dollar "Penny"
The Magic used the No. 1 pick to their advantage by engineering the biggest draft-day trade in recent history. The University of Michigan's Chris Webber seemed a clear choice for the No. 1 selection, but Orlando coveted Memphis State guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, whom Golden State seemed likely to select with the No. 3 pick. So, after the Magic picked Webber and the Warriors selected Hardaway, the teams swapped draftees, with Orlando also receiving three future first-round draft choices.
The events of the 1993 NBA Draft seemed to assure the Magic of fielding a solid team for years to come. Not only did they have a young and potent inside-outside tandem in O'Neal and Hardaway, but Orlando also owned 11 first-round draft picks over the next seven years.
In 1993-94 Orlando rose above the ranks of the expansion teams. Not only did the club win 50 games and make the playoffs, but with Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway, the Magic also became one of the top attractions in professional sports. Hardaway began the year as the club's shooting guard, leaving the veteran Scott Skiles at the point guard position.
However, by midseason Hardaway was in his natural position at the point, and Nick Anderson moved back to the off guard slot. For the season, Hardaway tallied 16.0 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game. He ranked sixth in the league in steals (2.32 per game), was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and finished a close second to Chris Webber for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Despite Hardaway's accomplishments, the fate of the Magic still rested on the broad shoulders of O'Neal. The big center, criticized by some for spending time in the offseason making films, records, and commercials instead of working on his offensive skills, dunked on his critics with an average of 29.3 points per game. He battled the San Antonio Spurs' David Robinson for the league scoring crown throughout the year, eventually settling for second place when Robinson poured in 71 points in the last game of the season. O'Neal also led the league in field goal percentage (.599), ranked second in rebounding, and sixth in blocked shots. He started in the NBA All-Star Game for the second straight year.
The Magic reached the All-Star break with a 27-20 record, went 23-12 for the remainder of the season, and finished in second place in the Atlantic Division. But the Indiana Pacers, the surprise team of the playoffs, began their run to the Eastern Conference Finals by sweeping Orlando in the first round. Following the season O'Neal led Dream Team II to a gold medal at the 1994 World Championship of Basketball.
The 1994 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1993-1994 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets defeating the Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks four games to three in the NBA Finals. It was the first NBA Championship for the Rockets after two previous Finals appearances in 1981 and 1986, both losses to the Boston Celtics in six games.
The biggest shocker of the tournament came in the first round, when the Denver Nuggets came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Seattle SuperSonics in 5 games, marking the first time in NBA history that an 8th-seeded team had defeated a top seed. The Nuggets stretched their second-round playoff series with the Utah Jazz out to seven games but the Jazz defeated them in Game 7.
The playoffs also featured the very first playoff series victory for the Indiana Pacers in their 17-year NBA existence, as they swept the Orlando Magic (who were making their first playoffs appearance in franchise history) in the first round, and then eliminated the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in the second round. The Pacers advanced within one game of the NBA Finals but dropped Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Knicks.
This was the first time since the ABA-NBA merger prior to the 1976-77 season that all four former ABA teams (Indiana, Denver, San Antonio and New Jersey) made the playoffs in the same year.
For the Chicago Bulls, this was their first (and as it would turn out, only) playoff run they would accomplish between the first retirement of Michael Jordan and his return on March 17, 1995. After sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, they fell in seven games to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
For the Knicks, they made history by playing a record 25 playoff games (one game short of a full length postseason), the most postseason games that an NBA team had ever played until this record was broken by the 2008 Boston Celtics. Their easiest series was the first-round 3-1 advancement over the Nets. The Knicks then forced three straight Game 7 series, eliminating the Bulls 4-3 in the Conference Semifinals, knocking off the Pacers 4-3 in the Conference Finals, both times at Madison Square Garden, before falling in Game 7 to the Rockets at The Summit in the NBA Finals, which meant New York was denied both NBA and NHL titles. Game 4 of the Finals (June 15, 1994) took place at the Garden, awashed with scent of beer and champagne a day after the New York Rangers' 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Knicks Coach Pat Riley made history by becoming the first (and to this date, the only) person in NBA history to have coached in a Game 7 NBA Finals on two different teams, having been with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1984 and 1988. However, he had the unfortunate distinction to have become the first (and to this date, the only) coach to lose a Game 7 NBA Finals on two different teams, as his Lakers lost to the Celtics in 1984. It also denied him the distinction of becoming the first coach to win a Game 7 NBA Finals on two different teams, as his Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons in 1988.
This would be the last playoff appearance for the Golden State Warriors until the 2006-07 NBA Season.
This was also the first time that the Boston Celtics, since 1979, and the Los Angeles Lakers, since 1976, did not make the playoffs and their first-ever absence since the playoff field expanded to 16 teams in 1984. This is the first and (as of 2009) only time that both the Lakers and the Celtics missed the playoffs in the same year.
Game 3 of the Bulls-Cavaliers series would be the last game ever played at Richfield Coliseum.
Game 6 of the Knicks-Bulls series would be the last game ever played at Chicago Stadium.
|Dimensions||H-7.75 W-3.25 D-0.5 inches|
|Condition Notes||Light soiling and scratching.|
National Basketball Association