Tuesday, 10 November 2015


Pennies From Hoop Heaven.



23 isn't the number of the greatest player of the golden era 90's and of the NBA all-time. Instead it really is the one. The one cent. From a dollar to a dream. The G.O.A.T. Just for a second imagine number one really was that. No spare change. 100% Penny. Anfernee Hardaway at full power. No 50 Cents. Getting basketball rich, without career death trying. Now lets take it back...with a twist. There's a wind and a season of change away from the city of Chicago and it's raging, stampeding Bull and it belongs in the talents of a Florida heat that you won't even find in South Beach. Instead the Disney town of Orlando, famous for theme-parks is about to have one roller-coaster ride on its hands that will even blow the Mickey Mouse ears off the head of this town. This city really was about to become the Magic's Kingdom. Years before Dwight Howard brought his infectious smile to the Orlando Magic as Superman 2, before taking his own brief, red-eye flight to Hollywood, Los Angeles for his Laker lay-over. The original Man Of Steel with the Kryptonite-proof, beaming smile ("Me?" Yes you!) , Shaquille O'Neal becoming the most dominant player of all-time who never had to escape to L.A. like a reverse Kurt Russell's Snake. No matter the millions! Why you ask? Because the most dominant ever had the greatest ever by his side and the closest to M.J. before he even met Kobe...or even the Superman/Flash partnership of Dwyane Wade back in Florida for Miami. You see that's just how good Penny's career could afford to be. You think you'd walk away from that...regardless of the money?!

What if?

What if Anfernee never got hurt? If Hardaway's career never saw the hard way, but a better way and the hardwood road of his classic career was paved the easy way on the Florida highway. What if Timmy wasn't the only Hardaway in Florida crossing over this game? What if Penny made everyone want to call his name, over and over again like Sheldon. Everyone knocking on his door. What if Penny, Penny, Penny brought champagne, not commiseration to Orlando and along with ticker-tape, fireworks to the Magic Kingdom like the Disneyworld palace at the beginnings of all Walt's films? But this is no fairytale. It could have happened to him. The fickle fate of injust injury can be as cruel as the basketball Gods seem at times. But in this game there's always more losers than there our winners. Just ask Mike. But Penny isn't one. Even if his career never saw the ring Penny's talent could afford. Those Penny's could have outsold those Air Jordan's. That Lil' Penny puppet could have been an even bigger star and personality in the 90's than well...it's voice Chris Rock. More than just something that spun-off into classic Blackstreet videos. No diggity...that was just how good he was with the way he worked it...no doubt. Shaq and Penny could have been more than just Shaq and Kobe before Shaq and Kobe. They could have been the most dominant and dynamic duo of all-time. Blue Chip brothers. Movie makers. Billboard blockbusters. Even Nick Nolte would remain calm and not have to throw things round the locker-room. A one, two punch that would ensure the corvette never met the brick wall. The 'Shaw-Shaq Redemption' of Brian and O'Neal would still be a hit without Hollywood and Nick Anderson wouldn't choke (cough...cough). Penny would be as clutch as Reggie. In the air every-night like Mike and winning like nobody else around him...because he would be the one. But somehow between the lines of that classic white, black and blue jersey it wasn't meant to be. Struck out like baseball opponents of the New York Yankees, because they couldn't take their eyes off the pinstripes. Catch me if you can.

Now picture this...

What if instead of imagining that, you imagine this. Because this was real. And Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway was the real deal, no matter how genuine you think this article is. Penny still cashed in a career as one of the best players to ever play this game of basketball, inactive debt or not. One of this generations greatest who like the air and heirs of Jordan has inspired the best of today from Kobe to LeBron and the Durant's and Westbrook's. Even the Steph Curry MVP's. The man who came in this game like another M.J, who was said to have the Magic of Earvin Johnson and ended up making another number Magic 32 smile that big grin of his. He was a star in Orlando no matter how long he shone for. Even if this Magic man's tricks of the trade were a now you see me, now you don't spell, leaving us anticipating the second act. Even if the best years and legs of his career went down on one knee, One Cent Hardaway was still in matrimony with this game, 'till rafters did him part. Because that's where number one belongs like the banners he could have put up there. The former Golden State Warrior third draft pick that was traded for Chris Webber had just that high a ceiling. He made the Magic his Kingdom before as a rising Sun he made Phoenix more than just his All-Star resting place but a rising metaphor. Just like fellow former All-Star career crippled by injury, Grant Hill, this fellow heir to Air Jordan's throne turned his career round and salvaged what was left between the fluid of his knees and the father time he had left to be more than just a valuable veteran, but a man who managed to save his career like no other fallen All-Stars could. His New York times as a Knick showed that, even if that city, just like him needed some divine intervention from the basketball God's for their big-name. Sometimes this sport is more than just a game however and the order of this court can be cruel. But that doesn't mean this revolutionary form of entertainment can have some redemptive moments that truly make it a beautiful game. And that's what happened when Penny reunited with Shaq in Florida for the Miami Heat, where the four time All-Star got to relive the glory days for a couple of games. No matter the hate that comes from arm-chair fans (just ask Kobe) that wrote this guy off because of an injury they couldn't even get up to make happen, you had to love that. Sometimes this life throws a curve-ball at you and sometimes you just dribble it right back. Because sometimes it's not about knocking it out the park...it's about staying on the plate...or on the floor in this game. Just ask Mike, everyone can always come back. Just a penny for your thoughts.

Imagine that!

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