Penny Hardaway honored by the Orlando Magic
“This is where my career was built and really ends.” – Penny Hardaway
Your favorite player’s favorite player was honored Friday night by the Orlando Magic during their 25th Anniversary season and Anfernee Hardaway had a lot of mixed feelings about his return to Orlando.
“Coming back now does show that we’re trying to mend some of the fences,” Hardaway said before Friday’s tipoff. “It wasn’t really mending anything, but just coming back and just being involved… seeing Bo, seeing Nick, and seeing some of the teammates, I think hopefully I’ll be able to come around more and be more involved with the Magic.”
I’m going to do my part in honoring the Magic player that made me go through stacks of VHS tapes, trying to record every highlight, interview, feature and half-time report on Penny in the early to mid 90s, by telling my personal story about following Penny. Here’s also one of the first mixes I made back in 2002.
If your favorite player is in their late 20s or early to mid 30s there’s a good chance that Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was one of their favorite players growing up. Tracy McGrady -yes. LeBron James -yep.
I was lucky enough to be living in the Orlando area when Penny came into the league which allowed me to acquire hundreds of hours of Penny footage on VHS tapes. Games, half-time reports, news at 11 local footage. I was like a hunter in a tree but with a VCR remote ready to record over my favorite shows to catch the latest Penny pass that would have his name trending on Twitter nowadays with a link to a guy recording his DVR replay while providing hilarious commentary on YouTube.
Then tragedy struck in O-Town. Shaq left and fans had to choose between Shaq or Penny and since I’ve been a Laker fan for life and a Shaq fan before a Penny one I had to pack my bags and go with the Big Fella and just shake my head watching Felton Spencer try to fill his shoes. Things then got worse Penny as injuries became frequent as did beef with teammates, coaches and the media. He quickly went from being the 2nd most marketable player in the league to the 2nd best Hardaway in Florida.
In 1998, I started a light joke but offensive website called Penny aka P—y and received death threats on a daily basis by oversensitive Penny stans that left messages in my animated mailbox gif at the bottom of the anti-Penny site. But as Penny faded away so did my negative feelings so I started ripping a bunch of those VHS tapes and putting the clips on better sites of mine and forums on the web. Before YouTube blew up, there was a good chance if you saw any rare Penny highlights on the web it came out of my personal collection. I put out Penny mixes. Penny and the 90′s Magic Mixes. Remixes of Penny mixes composed of the mentioned mixes. My love for Penny was back and stronger than ever.
A couple years later I was asked to do a T-Shirt design for a company that ended up on the backs of a lot of kids and streetball players but the best moment for me is when I saw a pic of my 90′s idol posing with it.
A few more years have gone by since that day but every July 18th I look forward to telling the same stories and reminding anybody willing to listen that Penny was not only one of my favorite players but most likely your favorite player’s favorite player too.
You will probably watch the following YouTube videos, and look up his not so amazing stats and accomplishments and try to justify why people that saw him play thought so highly of him but he is one of the true rare cases where you just had to see it to believe it.
Enjoy a few clips that I proudly recorded and watched over and over again until I wore out my VCR heads.