Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was born on July 18, 1971, in Memphis, Tennessee. After a standout high school basketball career during which he was named Parade Magazine Player of the Year, Hardaway decided to attend the University of Memphis. He missed his freshman year of playing basketball due to being academically ineligible, but Hardaway emerged as a star player during his sophomore year. As a sophomore, he averaged 17.4 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per game; as a junior he averaged 22.8 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 6.4 assists per game. Both years Hardaway was named Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year, and he was named an All-American his junior year. Hardaway decided to bypass his senior year and enter the 1993 NBA Draft.
The Golden State Warriors selected Hardaway with the third overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, but he was immediately dealt to the Orlando Magic. He got off to a fast start, averaging 16 points, 6.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 steals each game as a rookie. Over the next three seasons Hardaway continued to improve his game and was named to the All-Star team every year; however, injuries began to plague Hardaway’s career starting in 1996-97, and his career has never been the same.
What started out as a knee injury has progressed into chronically bad knees and other nagging injuries. Since 1999-00 Hardaway has averaged over 10 points per game and played in at least 75 games only two times. Over 13 NBA seasons with the Magic, the Phoenix Suns, and the New York Knicks, Hardaway has averaged 15.4 points per game, 5.1 assists per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 1.6 assists per game.
Career Highlights, Awards, and Accolades:
- Three-time All-Star