"An emotional kid just being spoiled" - Penny Hardaway admits to being immature during his time with the Magic

penny-hardaway

Known for his skillful plays and charismatic personality, Penny Hardaway quickly emerged as a fan-favorite rising star in the NBA in the mid-90s. However, his time with the Orlando Magic ended sooner than many fans had hoped.

Despite his undeniable talent, Hardaway's stubbornness sometimes overshadowed his talent, creating a tense environment within the Magic organization. Reflecting on his time with Orlando, Penny admittedly attributed his untimely split with the team to his immaturity at the time.

"That was just an emotional kid just being spoiled," Hardaway told Orlando Sentinel in 2017. "That's not even my element or my norm. I usually try to fight through things, and I didn't fight through. And I regret that to this day."

Penny would've loved to win with the Magic

As an NBA star, Hardaway undeniably left a lasting legacy for future generations of players. But winning an NBA title would have been Penny's ultimate achievement.

Failing to win a ring with the Magic still haunts Hardaway, especially considering he came close to capturing one alongside Shaquille O'Neal. For Penny, nothing would've been sweeter than winning with Shaq in Orlando, but sadly, he wasn't mature enough to realize that back then.

"Every time I watch the footage, man, I just get tears in my eyes because there's always that what if we would have all stayed together," Hardaway lamented.

"I would have cherished [it] more here because we had some really awesome teams, some super teams, and I took it for granted. I thought we were going to be together for the rest of our careers. I never thought Shaq would leave, and then after that, everything just fell apart," he added.

Once a Magic, always a Magic

Apart from his immaturity as a player, Hardaway's recurring injuries also contributed to his decline. After leaving Orlando, Penny found a new home with the Phoenix Suns but never returned to his old form after suffering several major injuries and undergoing microfracture surgery.

Hardaway then had underwhelming stints with the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat before calling it quits. Even in retirement, Penny remained loyal to the Magic and always held a special place in his heart for the team and its fans. Even today, he is a proud supporter of a team that drafted him and gave him a chance to show his talents to the NBA world.

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