Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway (born July 18, 1971 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a 6' 7" (2.03 m) professional American basketball player in the NBA playing at small forward/shooting guard for the New York Knicks. He adopted the nickname "Penny" from his grandmother who used to call him "pretty"; but because of her accent, it sounded like she was saying "Penny" and hence his friends began to call him by that name.
He grew up playing basketball in Memphis for Treadwell High School, and committed to Memphis State University. After two successful years in college, he declared for the 1993 NBA Draft and was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the first round (third pick overall). However, in a draft day deal, he was traded to the Orlando Magic for the rights to first overall pick Chris Webber and three future first-round picks. He immediately made an impact on the league, winning the MVP award of the Schick Rookie Game and was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year. Along with Shaquille O'Neal, he led his team to the NBA Finals in his second season, where they lost to the Houston Rockets, but not before defeating superstar Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Later he was named to the 1996 Olympic Basketball Team.
He played in the NBA All-Star Game during his first three years in the league and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1995 and 1996, as well as the All-NBA Third Team in 1997. At about the same time, a popular advertising campaign (by Nike, Inc.) featuring Hardaway made him a household name, and it appeared that he would be one of the top and most visible players in the league for years to come. But a devastating left knee injury he incurred early in the 1997-1998 NBA season required surgery and forced him to miss the rest of that season. He was criticized that season for attempting a comeback by playing in the 1998 All-Star Game, where he re-injured his knee badly enough that he was forced to miss most of the rest of the season. Afterwards, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Danny Manning, Pat Garrity and two future first round draft picks. Since then, Hardaway has had continued problems with his left knee, most notably missing most of the 2000-2001 season due to a long recuperation following further surgery on that knee. Though he continues to be a solid performer, his balky left knee has robbed him of a chance to become one of the legends of the game. Today, Hardaway is known for his high basketball IQ and all around versatility.
In the past, Hardaway often drew comparisons to former great Magic Johnson, as both players were taller than traditional point guards (Johnson stood at 6' 8") but possessed excellent ball handling, passing and court visions skills, trademarks of great point guards. However, injuries have prevented Hardaway's career from becoming as great as Johnson's.
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