“The Coach” Brian Hill and the Magic’s original general manager; John Gabriel have become the Orlando Magic Hall Of Fame inductees for 2022. It is hard to think of two more deserving recipients for the honour in recognition of their service and legacy to the team. Gabriel and Hill become the 10th and 11th inductees into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame.
The Orlando Magic Hall of Fame was introduced to honour and celebrate great players, coaches and executives who had a major impact during the team’s history. Inductees are determined on their overall contributions to the team and organisation both on and off the court. Furthermore, consideration is made in respect to the years of service, impact in the community and the character of the individual.
The Orlando Magic Hall Of Fame – John Gabriel
Gabriel has almost 40 years of NBA expertise. He has worked with the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers and the Orlando Magic.
He has been with the team in many capacities over 19 seasons and 21 years. Joining Orlando two years before the team started playing, Gabe was recruited by Pat Williams to help build the Magic in 1987. In January 1994 he became vice president of basketball operations and player personnel. Gabe was then promoted to general manager in April 1996, staying in that role until leaving the team in March 2004. He has returned to the Magic, being an executive advisor to basketball operations.
Qualities possessed have been described as being dedication, enthusiasm and hard work. It has been further said that he embodied the spirit of “heart and hustle”. Renowned for evaluating prospects across the States or internationally he coordinated camps for rookies and free agent.
He was the man behind building the Magic roster that went to the 1995 NBA Finals. During his first stint with the Magic, Orlando made 8 NBA Playoffs appearances.
Gabriel was the architect of the subsequent Magic rebuild. He brought in Doc Rivers as the team’s head coach. Doc won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award that season (1999-2000) and Gabriel was named the Executive of the Year. He was not done though. The summer of 2000 saw the signing of two free agents, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. This was the work of Gabe and is a page of Magic history that could easily have been a stellar one.
Away from basketball John Gabriel is known for extensive community work, particularly in respect of Parkinson’s disease of which he was diagnosed with in 2007.
The Orlando Magic Hall Of Fame – Brian Hill
“The Coach” Brian Hill was Magic head coach between 1993-97 and again 2005-07. His record of 267 wins is the most by any head coach in franchise history. He is still an executive advisor to the Magic’s basketball operations department. The Coach is now in his 9th season as pre-and-postgame analyst for Orlando Magic games on Bally Sports Florida.
His NBA career began in Atlanta in 1986, as an assistant coach. After four seasons with the Hawks he joined the Magic in 1990 as an assistant coach to Matt Guokas. Promotion came to head coach in June 1993.
His impact was immediate. Orlando reached the playoffs on four occasions, including the team’s first postseason berth (1993-94). They took two division titles (1994-95, 1995-96), made two Eastern Conference Finals appearances (1995, 1996) and appeared in the 1995 NBA Finals. He led the team to a franchise-record 60 wins in the 1995-96 season, that record still stands. Between March 21st 1995 and March 19th 1996 he led the Magic to 40 consecutive home wins. At the time that set an NBA record. At the 1995 NBA All-Star Game Coach Hill was named as the head coach of the Eastern Conference team.
Coach Hill was head coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies, and an assistant in New Orleans, New Jersey and Detroit. He also coached at college and high school level.
Coach Hill and his family are active in hosting fundraising events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. March 2006 saw the family honoured with the prestigious Jefferson Awards for Public Service.
The Orlando Magic Hall Of Fame
As previously written Gabriel and Hill become the 10th and 11th inductees into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame. They join:
Nick Anderson and Pat Williams – 2014
Shaquille O’Neal – 2015
Richard DeVos – 2016
Penny Hardaway and Jim Hewitt – 2017
Tracy McGrady – 2018
David Steele – 2019
Darrell Armstrong – 2020
You can visit each inductee’s plaque in the Fan Experience on the Terrace Level of the Amway Center.
We at Orlando Magic UK have been very fortunate to have four of the Magic Hall Of Famers join us on our podcast; Penny For Your Thoughts. Brian Hill joined us to talk on May 19th 2021 and you can catch the episode here if you missed it.