ORLANDO, Fla. - Since joining the NBA in 1989, the Orlando Magic have only had one voice announcing home games -- the voice of Paul Porter.
From "The O-Rena" to the Amway Center, Magic fans have consistently made it tough for opposing teams to play in Orlando, and Porter's pipes serve as the atmosphere's nucleus.
Porter lives in Tampa and also serves as the public address announcer for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just like he does for every Magic home game, he made the drive up I-4 to discuss his legendary career on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com with Justin Warmoth."
"It's maybe been the highlight of my life, it's certainly right up there," Porter said about his 30 years with the Magic. "It's probably what I'm best known for -- being the only voice of the Orlando Magic inside the arena."
Before joining the Magic, Porter spent three season with the Cleveland Cavaliers -- one as the public address announcer and the final two as the play-by-play radio broadcaster. He applied for the same two positions with Orlando's new franchise, but the play-by-play position was already filled by a familiar voice.
"They had already committed to David Steele to do the radio job," Porter said. "With him being the Florida Gators voice, I could understand why he got the nod over me."
Steele now serves as the Magic's television play-by-play broadcaster and was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in February.
Porter's approach to announcing seems commonplace inside arenas and stadiums today, but in the late '80s and early '90s his long and drawn out way of emphatically saying the player's names -- Shaaaqqquiilllleee O'Neeealll -- was considered "too Hollywood" by some of the league's most respected head coaches, including Phil Jackson and Larry Brown.
"It became more and more popular in more and more sports around the world and many say that I was the one who started it back in my days with Cleveland," Porter said. "I just wanted to do something a little bit different that I might be known for and that was it."
In Steve Clifford's first year as head coach, the Orlando Magic returned to the playoffs following seven losing seasons as the front office worked to rebuild the roster. While players like Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross stayed healthy and played solid basketball, Porter believes Clifford was the biggest reason for the turnaround.
"I've known Steve Clifford since his days as an assistant coach with Stan Van Gundy and I knew that he was a very good coach," Porter said. "I was very happy when the Magic hired him because I thought he could be the guy to really turn this thing in the right direction."
Porter is no stranger to announcing playoff basketball games for the Orlando Magic -- the team has played in two NBA Finals. But he said the atmosphere for the team's first home playoff game in almost a decade rivaled the days of Shaq and Penny at the old "O-Rena."
"Game 3 was the loudest that I've heard it in that arena maybe since the arena has been built," Porter said. "It was so good to hear an outstanding fan base come alive."
"I made an announcement about a car with its lights on and everybody cheered," Porter continued. "People were just waiting to cheer for something."
Hundreds of players have come and gone over the course of Porter's tenure with the Magic, but when asked to choose his all-time favorite, he responded with a smile, "Shaquille O'Neal."
"I liked him not just because he was such a great player, but because of his personality," Porter explained. "He's the kind of guy you can talk to and he's extremely intelligent."
Watch the full interview with Orlando Magic public address announcer Paul Porter Sunday at 8 a.m. on News 6.
Since joining the NBA in 1989, the @OrlandoMagic have only had one public address announcer — and they hit the jackpot with Paul Porter. Full interview Sunday @ 8 a.m. on @news6wkmg. pic.twitter.com/t8qeTyMQWq — Justin Warmoth (@JustinWarmoth) May 10, 2019
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