Dwight Howards Says Magic Should Retire Penny Hardaway’s Number

“I think when the season starts – whenever that may be – he should have his jersey put up for what he did not just the team, but for the city,” Howard said. “We all know how great Penny has been for the game of basketball.”

I might be known for being a little anti-Dwight from time to most of the times but i’m behind him 100% on his belief that the Orlando Magic should retire Penny Hardaway’s jersey.  Some people might say they shouldn’t because Tracy McGrady wore the #1 jersey afterwards but considering Tmac grew up idolizing Penny and Tmac isn’t very popular with the Orlando Magic franchise especially a very specific important person, I don’t see it being an issue.

Shaq might be the best/most dominant/most important player in the Magic franchise but for a couple of years Penny was just as popular if not more with much of the basketball public especially considering guards/forwards or whatever combo Penny wanted to be or more likable and marketable than big men.  In 1995 you couldn’t walk into an athletic store without seeing a picture of Penny right next to MJ and you couldn’t watch a Magic game without hearing somebody compare him to an all-time great like Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan and it was fair.

People that didn’t see Penny before the injuries (I can’t say prime because I don’t believe we got to see it) will think he’s overrated because he wasn’t putting up 50 point games, he was versatile but wasn’t even putting up triple doubles, he was compared to the best guards of all-time but didn’t get 10ast games as frequently as most believed.  What Penny did do was absolutely everything his teammates needed at every point in the game.  They had a 30pts 15reb monster that was leading the league in FG% in the middle.  They had two of the deadliest 3 point shooters. They had a rebounding machine that would never miss a 15 foot jump shot.  They had a bench that would often score less than 5 points in a game.  What Penny did was get every shot, rebound, assist, steal, block needed or make the play for one of his teammates to do what was needed.   If you can rank intangibles he was in the top 3 and was criminally underrated as a clutch player.  The year Shaq sat out the first half of the season Penny had multiple game winners and a game against the unbeataBulls where he was torching Michael Jordan in the 4th quarter.

I’ll leave the full Penny Hardaway tribute for another day but for today I’ll just celebrate that I’m actually a Dwight Howard fan..just for today.

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Read the full story about Dwight Howard’s Charity Game & Penny here: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_magic/2011/11/dwight-howard-magic-should-retire-penny-hardaways-jersey-video.html 

Hardaway, who lives in Memphis and is dabbling in talk radio, would like to re-establish some sort of relationship with the Orlando organization.

“It’s always been on my mind,” Hardaway said. “When you mention my name, it’s Orlando. They don’t talk about Phoenix; they don’t talk about New York. It’s Orlando. I’m in history here, so I would love to be more involved.

“I’ve been watching and I’ve been a fan of these guys for the last few years. I’ve always been a Magic fan. Even when I left, that’s in my blood. I would love to be involved. You know, come down and watch these guys play, come and watch practice, be involved in the community here, just kind of open up. The fans showed me love and I really want to do more things.”

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If you are still reading.  Here comes the negative stuff that I didn’t want to put in the love fest above.  From about 1996-99 I detested Penny.  I even had a website called “Penny aka P***y” in 1998 that was so hated people left me death threats in the chat room (remember those?).  He was always known for being too hard on himself and somebody that was afraid to voice his opinion but as the franchise begin to struggle and the injuries piled up he was becoming paranoid and started to blame a lot of his teammates, coaches and management for a lot of things that just ticked me off.  Obviously i’m over it.






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