This year marks the Orlando Magic's 25th Anniversary. There will be lots of historical retrospectives on the franchise's quarter century of existence.
The Orlando Sentinel, not known for its great polling when it comes to the Magic, put together a bracket of the 64 greatest Magic players of all time* and set up a tournament-style fan vote to determine who is the franchise's greatest player.
*Note, the Orlando Sentinel forgot to include Rashard Lewis and Steve Francis, but included Kenny Smith (who played all of three games for the Magic in 1997) and Cuttino Mobley (who played 23 games for the Magic in 2005).
This should not be too hard. The top four seems pretty set with Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard, Anfernee Hardaway and Tracy McGrady. No one should be able to argue that.
The Orlando Sentinel made rookie Victor Oladipo a 16-seed and put him up against Hardaway. Little did they know that this decision would de-legitimize the entire tournament.
Indiana Hoosiers fans crashed the tournament and pushed Oladipo over Hardaway by more than 600 votes. According to the Orlando Sentinel, approximately 20 percent of the votes came from the state of Indiana and about 99 percent of those votes went to Oladipo. If you counted just Florida voters, 78 percent voted for Hardaway.
The funny part is that Friday, Oladipo told Orlando Magic Daily that he wanted Indiana fans to stop:
Talked to Victor tonight about the Sentinel's poll, he said he might have to go online and tell #Hoosiers fans to stop and let Penny win.
— Orlando Magic Daily (@OMagicDaily) October 12, 2013
They apparently did not get the memo in time. The Magic fans could not rally after Indiana fans made a second push during the weekend after Hardaway regained the lead Saturday morning.
One thing is clear: Hoosiers fans support their own. And not even 25 years of building a franchise can overcome that passion. Hoosier fans decided to make their presence known.
Who wants to take bets that Oladipo wins the whole thing now?