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Former All-Star: NBA showcase week is magical time for Charlotte
Former Magic star lauds local experience
Published Friday, July 20, 2018 2:19 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

ORLANDO—Nick Anderson is the answer to a trivia question.

He is the first player drafted by the Orlando Magic, 11th overall in 1989. A small forward/shooting guard from Illinois, Anderson left the Magic in 1999 as their all-time leading scorer with 10,650 points, all-time leader in steals (1,004) and games played (692). He concluded his career in 2002 with Memphis after a stint in Sacramento.

An infamous championship moment for Anderson came  during the 1994-95 postseason when the Magic played Chicago in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He stripped Michael Jordan of the ball, and hit the game-winning shot for the Magic in game one, who went on to take the series 4-2. Over two decades later, Anderson is more concerned with congratulating Jordan on bringing the All-Star game to the Queen City.

“It’s great for a city, [like] Charlotte [that’s] not that big, not that small,” Anderson said. It’s a great opportunity for the city of Charlotte. Hopefully, I can be there to watch, and enjoy the game.”

Anderson’s advice for basketball fans: If you’ve never been to a professional game, make the All-Star showcase your first one.

“Just think about this. There are a lot of people who have never been to a professional sports activity,” he said. “You can say that, ‘this will be my first NBA festivities.’ Imagine that—the NBA All-Star game. Take full advantage of it. It’s a great opportunity. ‘What game did you go to?’ ‘Well my very first was the NBA All-Star game.’ Not a lot can say that.”

Anderson spends his days on the community relations side with the Magic, which includes the occasional appearance at Walt Disney World, particularly their ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosted the AAU national championships through July 17. Participants from 35 states and eight countries compete before college coaches and scouts.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Anderson said. “We talk about nerves—I’ve played in championships at the high school level, college level, and certainly the professional level. The nerves are the jitters of wanting to go out and perform and do well—that’s what really bothers you at the time. You don’t forget how to play the game. It’s just your nerves are all over the place, and you want to go out and do well. I know some of these of these young men and young women who play AAU, they feel the same way. It takes your coach and other people to say, ‘just relax.’ You can get out there, and you’re doing a little bit too much, because you’re excited."


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