In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Magic faced the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan, who had recently returned from an aborted baseball career wearing the number 45 instead of his famous number 23. At the end of Game One, Anderson famously stripped Jordan from behind, leading to the game-winning basket for the Magic. He later commented that Jordan “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan” and that “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to.” Jordan then returned to wearing his old number in the next game, scoring 38 points in a Bulls win.
Game One of the NBA Finals was against the defending champion Houston Rockets, at the Orlando Arena. With the Magic up by three points late in the game, Anderson, typically a 70% free throw shooter, missed four consecutive free throws that could have sealed the victory for Orlando. Kenny Smith hit a three-pointer for Houston shortly thereafter, tying the game and sending it to overtime. The Rockets went on to win the game in overtime and eventually swept the Magic, winning their second consecutive NBA Championship. As a result of this incident, some Orlando fans began to label Anderson with the derogatory nicknames of “Nick the Brick” and “Brick Anderson.”
Anderson would go on to play at the University of Illinois for two years before joining the Orlando Magic in a career that would also include stints with the Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies. He currently serves the Magic in several off-the-court functions and was elected to the “Illini Men’s Basketball All-Century Team” in 2004.
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||11,529 (14.4 ppg)|
|Assists||2,087 (2.6 apg)|
|Steals||1,114 (1.4 spg)|