Happy Birthday, Penny Hardaway! Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was born in Memphis, Tennessee on July 18, 1968. Making a name for himself throughout the Memphis area, Hardaway played ball locally at Treadwell High School and eventually played two seasons with the Memphis where he was a finalist for the Naismith College Player of the Year and John R. Wooden Award.
In the 1993 NBA Draft, Penny was selected third overall by the Golden State Warriors, but was immediately traded to the Orlando Magic for first overall pick Chris Webber. In Orlando, Penny would become part of one of the most exciting tandems in the league, joining forces with powerhouse center Shaquille O’Neal. With Penny’s quick, slashing abilities and O’Neal’s big man presence, the Magic were one of the top teams of the mid ’90s, making it to the 1995 NBA Finals. Eventually, O’Neal would leave for Los Angeles, while Penny wound up with the Phoenix Suns in 1999.
From there, Penny would go on to have memorable runs with the New York Knicks and Miami Heat before retiring due to nagging injuries. Throughout his career, Hardaway was selected as an NBA All-Star on four occasions, as well as two All-NBA First Team spots.
Of course, you can’t talk about Penny Hardaway without discussing his extremely popular signature sneaker line. Before Nike created a Penny-specific model, Hardaway was known for wearing the Nike Air Go LWP and the Nike Air Way Up. In 1995, Nike introduced the Air Max Penny 1 (pictured), which paved the way for one of the biggest basketball signature lines of the ’90s.
And although it wasn’t initially created for him, Penny’s become synonymous with one of the most groundbreaking models of all time, the Nike Air Foamposite One. More recently, Penny’s Nike line has seen a resurgence thanks to the Nike Zoom Rookie and Nike Penny V. All in all, Hardaway’s models are arguably part of the most popular non-Jordan signature basketball line of all time.