What NBA franchise has hosted three NBA Finals, only appeared in two, and never won one?
Hint. Soon, there will only be one answer.
Your Orlando Magic.
The NBA announced Thursday that the 2019-2020 NBA season will resume, and conclude, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex beginning July 31st. If necessary, Game 7 of the NBA Finals will occur no later than October 12th.
State and local officials have always prioritized the importance of big sporting events as a fabric of our community. As is often the case, Orlando was among the first cities rumored to host the resumption of the NBA. Las Vegas was also considered as a host site for Western Conference teams. Disney’s relationship with the NBA through its ownership of ESPN/ABC gives Orlando an extreme advantage hosting events of this magnitude. The NBA will attempt to create a campus-like environment for players, coaches, and staff. Disney, as we all know too well, has more than enough room to accommodate.
How it will work
The league has invited 22 of 30 teams – nine from the Eastern Conference, 13 from the Western Conference. Teams six and a half games out of the playoffs prior to the suspension of play will not attend.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight games for playoff seeding. If at the end of the eight games, the ninth seed, which is typically eliminated from Playoff consideration at seasons end, is within four games of the number eight seed, there will be a play-in tournament to decide who earns the final Playoff spots in each conference.
What it means for the Magic
Currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Magic are five and a half games ahead of the Washington Wizards. If the Wizards are not able to make up at least one and a half games in the standings, the Magic will represent the Eastern Conference as the eighth seed. There is still hope for the Magic to earn the seventh seed, as they sit just one half of a game behind the current seventh seed, the Brooklyn Nets.
The Playoff format will remain the same as it has in prior years. With teams competing in a best-of-seven series for all rounds. As of Thursday, ideas of how to reward the higher-seeded teams, typically done through home-court advantage, was yet to be determined.
What it may look like
Decisions on who else, including players’ families, will be granted access to the campus is still to be determined. The same goes for media and fans. If you recall, Orlando played host to the NBA’s Summer League from 2002-2017. During Summer League, games were only available to the public on television and were conducted with limited media availability. Though Summer League games lacked the star power the remainder of an NBA season will bring, the environment surrounding the games could be an important factor in the legitimacy of the outcomes.