The combination of Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway was so powerful the NBA lottery was changed!
It baffles the mind to think that fans actually booed when the Orlando Magic traded Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway in a draft-night shocker. By the end of the first year teaming up with O’Neal, the NBA changed the ping-pong ball rules forever.
Shaquille O’Neal first teamed up with Penny Hardaway in Hollywood as stars of the movie Blue Chips. It was then O’Neal said that he went to the front office about the guard out of Memphis State (Now known as the University of Memphis).
Let’s just say their time in Orlando was definitely was “Hollywood Magic”.
Penny Hardaway is the biggest “What if?” on this list. If these two had stayed in Orlando, the Magic would have ruled the Eastern Conference for about a decade. If Shaq was the “Smash”. Penny was the “Dash”.
These two led the only team that knocked out a Michael Jordan led Bulls team in the ’90s. But while the Bulls retooled their roster, tensions started building between the stars.
Then there were those knees. Hardaway should have been one of the league’s all-time great point guards, so a Magic Johnson comparison wasn’t ignored but accepted. However, the Magic gave the Los Angeles Lakers some hope during free agency over salary concerns.
Soon after O’Neal’s four seasons with the Magic were done (especially the three seasons he played alongside Penny Hardaway), his star shifted to Los Angeles where most stars shined the brightest.
During his eight seasons he played for the Los Angeles Lakers, starting in 1996, his career really took off with another superstar.