So, the LeBron James decision to join the Miami Heat is bringing them out of the woodwork. A gaggle of washed-up NBA has-beens have begun to announce their willingness to play for the Heat now that Pat Riley has bought himself a USDA Prime team. With Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and James, Miami is looking like a strong title contender, so the ringless wannabes, including good ol’ Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, are showing up in force.
Those of us from Orlando remember Penny playing here from 1993-1999. He was a four-time all star with the Magic. His first couple of years made us wonder whether trading away first overall pick Chris Webber for him was a good idea. He had been a shooting guard with Memphis, but the Magic wanted him to be their point guard. During his tenure with the Magic the immature Hardaway was a big pouter, and his leadership was questionable. He and other team members fomented a rebellion against Head Coach Brian Hill in order to get a coach “with rings”, convincing management to fire Hill and go after the late Chuck Daly who fit the description of having championship rings. After a year of putting up with crybabies like Hardaway and his cronies, who apparently thought they were running the team, Daly retired for good.
By the way, Penny got his name from his grandmother, who reportedly couldn’t pronounce “Anfernee”, calling him Penny instead. There’s no telling who gave him the name Anfernee and why.
Eventually, Hardaway was traded to Phoenix, where he sat out the bulk of the following year with a foot injury, for which he blamed his shoe manufacturer. Are you getting an idea of the type of whiner we’re talking about here? Since his time in Phoenix, he’s knocked around the league a bit, including a stint with Miami in 2007, after which he was released and he presumably retired. He struggled with injuries for most of the latter part of his NBA career.
Hardaway is now 39. He offers the following bit of wisdom.
“I can understand where Michael Jordan was coming from coming out of retirement a couple times, I can understand where Brett Favre is right now,” Hardaway told the Orlando Sentinel. “When you still have something in the tank it’s really hard to let it go.”
I’m not quite sure what’s left in Penny’s tank. Wonder if he’s still driving around in that black Lamborghini Diablo with the “P1NNY” license plate. Better be putting 93 octane in that tank.
If Penny wants to play for the Heat, so do I. I’m a little older than 39 and I have nothing left in my tank, but what the hell, I like rings and I like to bitch and complain, so why is Penny any more qualified than I am? I’d gladly play for the NBA veteran minimum, too, with a non-guaranteed one year contract, just like Penny.
I heard a rumor that Tracy McGrady wants to play in Miami, too. He’s yet another whining non-leader who should hang up his tennies once and for all. McGrady played for the Magic, too, and in fact he inherited Hardaway’s number, the overambitious #1.
Can it be long before a bunch of other second-rate NBA would-be superstars without rings descend on Miami to make their pitch to Riley? Latrell, are you listening?