Nelison “Nick” Anderson was born on January 20, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois spending thirteen years in the NBA beginning in 1989, most of them with the Orlando Magic. A solidly built swingman, Nick Anderson honed his game in Chicago. As a high school senior, he was named “Mr. Basketball” in Illinois after leading his team to the city championship and a No. 1 national ranking in USA Today. Upon his graduation, Anderson, who wears uniform No. 25 in memory of Ben Wilson, a high school friend and teammate who was killed in a shooting, continued his exploits at the University of Illinois. After sitting out his freshman year, he turned in two outstanding seasons, teaming with future NBA players Kendall Gill and Marcus Liberty. As a junior, Anderson averaged 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds to help lead the Illini to a 31-5 record and a berth in the 1989 NCAA Final Four. Following that season he declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft.


Anderson left school and entered the NBA Draft in 1989, where he was selected with the eleventh pick of the first round by the Orlando Magic. As the Magic were an expansion team that season, Anderson was the first draft pick in franchise history. Nick went on to be the Magic’s all-time leader in many categories such as games played (692), minutes played (22,400), points (10,650), steals (1,004) and second in rebounds to Shaquille O’Neal with 3,667. He ended his career in 2002. During his career, Nick was involved in numerous contributions in his community.


He founded the Flight 25 Foundation to help kids learn life lessons through interactions on and off the basketball court. Anderson scored more than 10,000 points in a Magic uniform but he’ll be remembered just as much for the assists he gave off the court. Some around the Orlando community dubbed him “Saint Nick” for his generosity that earned him the inaugural Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award in 1996. Anderson displayed an especially heartfelt touch around the holidays, planning Thanksgiving dinners for senior citizens and leading Christmas toy drives for kids who otherwise might have been forgotten. Anderson is now retired from playing basketball professionally, but remains with the Orlando Magic as a Community Ambassador.