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Penny Hardaway: the Memphis Magician

When the Orlando Magic traded their number one overall pick of the NBA Draft for Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway of Memphis State University the 3rd pick of the 1993 draft, Magic fans were up in arms. Almost everyone expected them to keep Chris Webber, a 6’10” big man with smooth handle and a knack for making the right pass. It just so happened Penny had made a special connection with the Magic’s dominant center Shaquille O’ Neal on the set of Blue Chips a year earlier and convinced the Magic front office to give him a second pre-draft workout.

Air Max Penny 1

Despite the gripes of the fanbase, Penny and the Orlando Magic exploded out of the gate. In his rookie season Penny posted 16 points, 6.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds per game and was 6th in the league in steals resulting in him becoming the runner-up to Rookie of the Year award ironically behind Chris Webber. The fledgling Magic scored their first 50 win season as a franchise with their otherworldly duo at the helm. Penny quickly garnered attention from all over with his charismatic and head turning play. A tall guard with Swiss Army knife versatility Penny immediately drew comparisons to Magic Johnson, Nike saw Penny as the Heir Jordan to their sneaker empire due to His Airness taking a break from basketball to pursue his dreams on the baseball diamond.

Penny vs MJ

During his rookie campaign in 1994 Penny rocked the Nike Air Up but the following year he was awarded with the Nike Air Max Penny designed by Eric Avar. That same year Penny led the Magic to a playoff victory against the Chicago Bulls and a newly returned Michael Jordan after that the legend of Penny erupted. He was featured in Nike commercials with Chris Rock as the voice of his partner, Lil Penny, a boisterous doll that spoke for the humble and laid back Penny. With the Nike Air Max Penny 1 on foot, Penny was officially a star and one of the premier faces in the league.

Get like Penny and cop the "White Metallic" Air Max Penny 1 here online and in-stores on 8/10.