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A Bio on Penny

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Essay title: A Bio on Penny

Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway is a gifted guard whose shooting, passing and athletic abilities earned him a spot on the All-NBA First Team and who helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 1995, only his second season in the league. The 6-7 Hardaway combines height, ballhandling and an accurate outside stroke into an exciting all-around game, although his scoring tailed off in his final two seasons with Orlando and he was traded to Phoenix prior to the 1999-2000 season. A native of Memphis, Tennessee Hardaway always seemed destined for roundball success. He was Parade magazine's National High School Player of the Year in 1990, when as a prep senior he averaged 36.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.3 steals, and 2.8 blocks. He chose to attend nearby Memphis State (now the University of Memphis) but had to sit out 1990-91 in order to become academically eligible. Hardaway, who achieved a 3.4 cumulative grade point average in college, ripped up the Great Midwestern Conference for two seasons. As a junior in 1992-93 he averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.4 assists; shot .477 from the field; recorded 2 triple-doubles; and set a school single-season record for points with 729. He was named conference Player of the Year, a First-Team All-American, and a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards. The Orlando Magic, who had secured Shaquille O'Neal with the No. 1 pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, won the NBA Draft Lottery again in 1993. The team took Michigan's Chris Webber with the No. 1 pick and immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Hardaway and three first-round draft picks. The Warriors had chosen Hardaway with the third overall pick in the same draft. (Shawn Bradley went to the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 2.) In an effort to ease Hardaway's adjustment to playing point guard in the NBA, Magic Coach Brian Hill started him at off guard for the first half of his rookie season. Hill eventually moved Hardaway to the point, and the 21-year-old rookie finished with averages of 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. He made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and finished six votes behind Webber for the Rookie of the Year Award. In only his second year in the league Hardaway emerged as a top NBA guard. He averaged 20.9 points and 7.2 assists, started in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game, and helped the Magic to the best record (57-25) in the Eastern Conference. Orlando romped all the way to the NBA Finals before being swept by the Houston Rockets in four games. Proving his worth as a prime-time player, Hardaway averaged 25.5 points and 8.0 assists in the series against the Rockets. Following the 1994-95 season, Hardaway was named to the 1996 Dream Team, which competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Hardaway had another banner season in 1995-96, averaging a career-high 21.7 ppg and a team-best 7.1 apg. He also stepped up his game a notch during the first six weeks of the season, when O'Neal was sidelined by a broken thumb. Following the departure of O'Neal as a veteran free agent in the summer of 1996, Hardaway stepped in as Orlando's scoring leader at 20.5 ppg in 1996-97, despite missing 23 games because of a knee injury. After the Magic fell behind Miami 2-0 in their First Round playoff series, Hardaway erupted for 42, 41 and 33 points as Orlando stretched the series to the five-game limit before bowing. He missed all but 19 games of the 1997-98 season due to torn cartilage in his left knee and averaged 16.4 ppg, then started all 50 games in 1998-99 and led the Magic in scoring at 15.8 ppg, the lowest mark of his career. He exercised an option to become a free agent following the season and agreed to a sign-and-trade deal in which he re-signed with the Magic and was traded to the Phoenix Suns on August 5, 1999 for Danny Manning, Pat Garrity and a pair of future No. 1 draft picks.

1999-2000

Logged a triple-double, tallying 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 107-98 loss to Houston on 4/18 Posted 25 points and 12 rebounds in a 102-97 win over Sacramento on 4/9 Tallied 33 points (11-14 FG) in a 90-82 win over Golden State on 3/26 Notched 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in a 109-101 loss at the L.A. Lakers on 3/24 Scored 28 points (10-10 FT) in a 99-96 loss to Utah on 3/10 Posted 24 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in a 108-101 win at Houston on 3/7 Tied his season-high of 28 points in a 100-92 win over Miami on 3/6 Registered a season-high 28 points in a 103-102 loss in Toronto on 2/27 Netted 21 points in his return to Orlando on 1/31 Totaled 24 points (10-15 FG) in a 100-79 loss in Charlotte on 1/29 Scored 27 points in a 93-87 win in Philadelphia on 1/26 Activated from the injured list on 1/22, after missing 21 games with plantar fasciaitis in his right foot Notched 21 points and 9 rebounds in a 105-95 loss in Houston on 12/4 Tallied 21 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a 128-122 double

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