Posts Tagged ‘Penny Hardaway’

Orlando’s Original Big 3 (Shaq, Penny And 3D) Reunited At The Barbershop

ORLANDO — It’s probably a painful thought for longtime fans in this city, but what if Shaquille O’Neal never left?

What if the Orlando Magic’s Big 3 of Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Dennis Scott had stuck together throughout the primes of their respective careers? What might they have been able to accomplish? How many more NBA Finals might they have reached?

Sure, it’s a dangerous game to play, even now after all of these years have passed. But you have to wonder …

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 68)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The All-Star reserves have been announced. Some wrongs were made right (LaMarcus Aldridge) while other wrongs remain (Josh Smith).

But making the All-Star team as a reserve is a complex issue that required further examination, which leads us to Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast.

We enlisted the services of former Michigan State, 1998 NBA All-Star and current NBA TV analyst Steve Smith to help make sense of a process that often times makes none.  After all, Smitty played in just that one All-Star game during his stellar 14-year career, despite playing at an All-Star level for the bulk of his career.

But when you’re fighting for a berth at guard in the Eastern Conference with the likes of Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway, Joe Dumars, Latrell Sprewell and others during the Michael Jordan era these sorts of things happen.

We also chatted All-Star reserves, Jeremy Lin and the overall state of the game with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, a Bay Area native and current resident. Spears lived in Boston when the Knicks’ point guard sensation (for the past three games at least) was running the show at Harvard, and even though he’d never heard of Lin back then and never saw the Crimson play, he’s “all-Lin” for the new face of the global game — who just happens to share Spears’ Bay Area roots.

For all that and so much more, including a look back at an iconic collection of young stars (below) before they hit the NBA, check out Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

1990-91 Playboy All-American Team

The NBA’s All-Time Super Commercials

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — While most of the free world turns it attentions to football today we only have eyes for the NBA, so what if there are only two games scheduled today (The Hang Time Grizzlies face the Celtics at Noon ET on NBA TV and the Raptors and Heat tipoff at 1 p.m. ET).

We’ll take what we can get before everyone goes crazy for the Giants-Patriots rematch, and those commercials, in Super Bowl XLVI tonight.

Speaking of those commercials, we’ll be curious to see who brings it and who doesn’t when it’s all said and done. Whatever offerings the Super Bowl provides this year, we know they won’t crack HT’s All-Time list of the NBA’s Super commercials.

Five of our favorites (and there are so many great ones to choose from that it took us forever to whittle it down to these five):

— Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon, Hang Time!


Magic Play Waiting Game With Dwight

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — From the very start, we’ve had nothing but good things to say about the way the Orlando Magic are handling Dwight Howard and his future with the franchise.

With every win, and every milestone (above) Howard reaches in a Magic uniform, their decision to step back from the trade discussions involving their superstar center seems more and more like the right one.

The Denver Nuggets went down the same path last season with Carmelo Anthony before moving him to New York. But these situations are quite different in regards to the perception of the teams making the decision. While the Nuggets were a playoff team with Anthony, no one considered them much of a title contender before the trade.

The Magic, meanwhile, appear to be a legitimate threat to the Bulls and Heat in the chase for the Eastern Conference crown this season. As of this morning they’re second in the Southeast Division, sporting an identical 12-5 record as the Heat, behind the 13-5 Hawks.

And whether Howard is on his way out of Orlando or not, he is busy cementing his legacy as arguably the greatest player in Magic history (sorry Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, but Dwight already has the all-time scoring mark and has led the franchise to just as many appearances in The Finals as you both did.)

As’s Jemele Hill points out, the Magic do have some factors working in their favor if they indeed are set on keeping Howard in the fold:

Orlando has three things going for it in its effort to manipulate Howard into staying: money, a winning record and his desire to be liked. If Howard chooses to go to another team as a free agent, it could cost him $30 million, since the collective bargaining agreement allows the Magic, as the team that drafted him, to offer him the most money.

The salary should be enough to make even Howard — who is earning close to $18 million this season — uncomfortable about leaving.

Some NBA stars might be egomaniacs, but few of them want to be cast in a bad light. Most players don’t even have the guts to ask for a trade themselves. They use their agents, representatives and other back channels to make their true feelings known so they can have plausible deniability with their home teams’ fans. During his trade drama in Denver last season, Carmelo Anthony always insisted he never asked for a trade, even though it was so obvious he wanted to be with the New York Knicks that he might as well have put it on a Times Square billboard.

There’s that Anthony comparison again. And it’s hard to ignore the similarities, good and bad.

We all know how that’s working out for Anthony … and for his former team.

Labor Talks: A Glimmer Of Hope?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If 15 mind-bending hours of negotiations are any indication, that little cooling off period seems to have helped both sides in the NBA’s ongoing labor impasse.

After breaking off talks late last week, the two sides have resumed their discussions and the first day (and night) of these latest talks have produced at least a glimmer of hope that a new deal could be in the works sometime sooner rather than later. Of course, caution is needed where these things are concerned. We’ve been here a time or two in the past 119 days, reading the tea leaves and feeling hopeful, only to have the reality of this situation snap us back to attention.

But everyone’s tone has changed dramatically since last week, when NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s absence from federally-mediated talks (the doctors sent him home) coincided with what was the most dramatic detour to date in the progression of these negotiations.

Union executive director Billy Hunter spoke of a potential deal being ready within the next five or six days and Stern even floated the notion of an 82-game season being worked out, provided the sides come to a consensus on a new deal in rapid fashion.

That sets up this afternoon’s bargaining session in New York as perhaps the (latest) most critical day in the process. Another positive day of talks could provide us with more than just a glimmer of hope — (although, the Prime Minister warns that we shouldn’t go dreaming about unicorns and rainbows until we see Stern and Hunter shaking hands at one of these post-session pressers) …

A Deal To Be Done, If Both Sides Are Ready

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes that the time to make a deal is near:

From front-office executives to player agents, optimism is rapidly rising that there’s significant momentum toward reaching an agreement and saving most, if not all, of the 82-game regular season. Union executive director Billy Hunter said he “assumes” the full schedule could be saved if a deal is reached by “Sunday or Monday.” Stern said the league will work with the union to schedule as many games as possible.

The two sides didn’t discuss the split of revenue – a contentious issue in previous negotiating sessions – instead taking Hunter’s suggestion they “park” the discussion while negotiating system issues. Stern indicated the talks likely won’t return to the split until the league and union have finished with the system. League and union officials will continue to meet in small groups Thursday. Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt will brief the owners’ labor-relations committee before talks resume.


Should Nick be tossing bricks?

There are plenty of folks who can still rightly point fingers at the retiring Shaquille O’Neal for taking a handful of potential championship banners with him when he left Orlando back in 1996.

But Nick Anderson isn’t one of them. Not as long as the 0-for-4 memory of Nick the Brick in 1995 lives on.

Anderson joined the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi on his radio show to lament the day that Shaq flew the coop:

“I was sitting at my home in Chicago watching the Olympics (in 1996) when a special bulletin came on and I happened to see the Big Fella (Shaq) holding a (Lakers) jersey standing next to Jerry West,” Anderson remembers. “I fell off the couch. Two minutes later, my phone rang and it was my dad calling to say, ‘You know, your championships just went to L.A.’ And how right he was. They (those championships) left and went to L.A.”

Of course, what Anderson did not re-live and lament was his own classic gaffe in Game 1 of the 1995 Finals that might well have altered the course of NBA history.

To refresh:

  • Anderson and Shaq’s Magic entered The Finals matchup against the Rockets which was considered a toss-up by oddsmakers.
  • The Magic built a 20-point lead in the second quarter, then squandered virtually all of that lead coming down the stretch.
  • With Orlando up by three, Anderson went to the foul line twice in the final 10.5 seconds of regulation and proceeded to miss four straight free throws when any one of them would have iced the game.
  • Kenny Smith then hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, tying it up and the Rockets won in overtime on a Hakeem Olajuwon tip-in.
  • The Magic were demoralized, depressed and never able to bounce back, getting swept 4-0 by Houston.

Clink! Clank! Clunk! Crash!

Though it rarely makes the lists of infamy, it can be argued that Nick the Brick’s four pas was the biggest choke job in sports history.


Heat join the instant-contender ranks

Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday when the Heat were a team with one All-Star struggling to keep their heads above water in the playoffs.

Well, actually it was.

Then, barely 11 months ago, LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on stage at American Airlines Arena for that smoke and laser light show. Which brings to mind a few other NBA teams that have made the rapid ascent from middling to championship contender.


High Pick, Hard Luck

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The yellow brick NBA road is littered with names of should-have-been legends that never got the chance to realize their potential due to injury.

It’s a cruel-but-timeless tradition, whereby a supremely talented individual sees his career either curtailed or ended altogether due to an injury that no one planned on.

We’ve already seen Greg Oden‘s season end due to a recurring injury (knee). And then there’s yesterday’s news that Yao Ming (ankle) would join him in the street-clothes brigade for the foreseeable future (he is technically out “indefinitely,” but you don’t need a translator to know his season is over).

This Yao development generated an interesting discussion here at the hideout pertaining to high picks who have had their careers derailed by injuries. In the interest of the here and now, we’ll leave yesteryear alone and excuse elders like Bernard King, Bill Walton, Sam Bowie and Ralph Sampson and HT All-Time fave Andrew Toney, just to name a few.

We’ll even excuse more recent stars like Penny Hardaway, a legend in the making before injuries robbed him of his best years.

We’re going to go with just the top 10 injury-curtailed/derailed careers since the 2000 NBA draft, based on draft position:

T-Mac’s Workout Tour Moves On


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — What now Tracy McGrady?

Where to next?

McGrady’s humbling workout tour has made stops in Los Angeles and now Chicago without anyone demanding that McGrady put his signature on a contract before leaving town.

McGrady’s attempt to return from microfracture surgery (in 2009) is admirable. Even Derrick Rose seems intrigued about the potential boost McGrady would bring to a team that’s clearly on the cusp of something special.

But we’re starting to wonder if this is all being done in vain.

Things didn’t go nearly as well as some had hoped in Chicago, as HT fave K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported:

According to two people who witnessed the workout, McGrady shot the ball well but didn’t move with much fluidity or exhibit superior conditioning. Andy Greer, who served as an assistant with the Rockets along with coach Tom Thibodeau when McGrady played there, led the workout.

Those two coaches’ familiarity with McGrady, as well as Rose’s public lobbying for him that stems, in part, from their shared agency, represent McGrady’s best chance at landing a Bulls offer. Yet no definitive decision has been made, and one league source who spoke with Bulls management said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls passed.

Another source said management has considered a non-guaranteed deal near the veteran’s minimum of $1.35 million if an offer is made, but that an offer is unlikely.

“I’d fit in well,” an amiable McGrady told reporters. “I’d bring what I know about the game and my athleticism and versatility. Knowing my smarts for the game, leadership, anything I can add to help these guys over the edge.

“Without me, without (Carlos) Boozer, they were a .500 club. With the guys that they added, and if you add me, I think we’ll be 30 points better.”

He might have lost a step or two, but T-Mac’s confidence is clearly still intact.



My main man Steve Aschburner of made clear his opinions that McGrady is not a good fit with the Bulls. He makes a solid case against it, even for the those of you that get nostalgic about the T-Mac of old:

McGrady is just three seasons removed from averaging 21.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Houston Rockets. Hardaway is 12 years removed from his last All-Star appearance and, counting back from 2010-11, five seasons removed from giving his regards to Broadway in a token New York Knicks stint. Which is what McGrady’s 24 games with the Knicks felt like this spring.

McGrady did a little better than the other guy in New York (9.4 points on 38.9 percent shooting, averaging 26.1 minutes in 24 games), which — combined with the calendar and pro sports’ determination to squeeze the last bit of pulp out of any orange — is why his ambitions are taken more seriously.

Hopefully, though, not too seriously in Chicago.

McGrady has been unabashed in his desire to play for the Bulls, winking about “unfinished business” in Chicago on Twitter, which is different from the way he toyed with the team in free agency in 2000 before jumping from Toronto to Orlando. Back then, he couldn’t tweet his flirtations. Back then, he wasn’t really interested in joining the post-Jordan mess in Chicago. Back then, Matchbox Twenty and Marc Anthony were hot.

Has it been that long since T-Mac was one of the hottest names in the game?

Surely, T-Mac can offer some team quality minutes off the bench at this stage of his career. He has something left. He certainly has the incentive to get back on the court and prove his critics (we would fall into that camp here at the hideout the past few years) wrong.

Where he does it, or if he is allowed the opportunity to do it, remains the only mystery in this story.