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Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway ‘to coach alma mater Memphis State’

  • Hardaway, 46, will reportedly replace the recently fired Tubby Smith
  • Known as ‘Penny,’ Hardaway famously paired with Shaquille O’Neal to take the Orlando Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals
  • In addition to his ‘Lil Penny’ Nike ads, in which he interacted with a small puppet meant to resemble himself, Hardaway also starred alongside O’Neal in the 1994 movie ‘Blue Chips’ about corruption in college basketball 
  • In addition to an AAU team, the two-time Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year coached Memphis East High School to three straight state titles

Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway is returning to basketball, only this time as the head coach at his alma mater, Memphis.

The four-time NBA All-Star whose career was cut short by injuries will replace the recently fired Tubby Smith, according to an ESPN report.

Hardaway, 46, became an enormous star at Memphis in the early 1990s and was ultimately taken third by the Golden State Warriors in the 1993 NBA Draft before being dealt to Orlando in exchange for Chris Webber. It was in Orlando at Hardaway paired with Shaquille O’Neal and ultimately reached the NBA Finals in 1995, where they fell to the Houston Rockets. 

Guard Anfernee Hardaway of the Memphis State Tigers dribbles the ball down the court during a game against the DePaul Blue Demons at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee in 1992

Anfernee Hardaway is expected to become the head coach at Memphis (formerly Memphis State), where he starred for two seasons in the early 1990s (right) 

Known as ‘Penny,’ Hardaway became popular on screen as well. In addition to his ‘Lil Penny’ Nike ads, in which he interacted with a small puppet meant to resemble himself, Hardaway also starred alongside O’Neal in the 1994 movie ‘Blue Chips’ about corruption in college basketball.

Hardaway was featured in popular Nike ads alongside a puppet called 'Lil Penny'

Hardaway was featured in popular Nike ads alongside a puppet called ‘Lil Penny’

Hardaway is not a coaching novice. In addition to an AAU team, the two-time Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year guided Memphis East High School to three straight state titles.

It was at Memphis East where Hardaway coached prize recruit James Wiseman, who he could ultimately persuade to attend Memphis.

The Tigers never met expectations under Smith, who previously won a national title at Kentucky. Memphis finished the year 21-13 after going 19-13 in 2016-17, the program’s first season under Smith.

The program recently enjoyed success under current Kentucky coach John Calipari, who guided Memphis to the NCAA Finals in 2008.

Hardaway (right) paired with Shaquille O'Neal (left) in Orlando to create one of the better teams of the 1990s. The Magic would ultimately beat Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls en route to the 1995 NBA Finals, where they fell to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets 

Hardaway (right) paired with Shaquille O’Neal (left) in Orlando to create one of the better teams of the 1990s. The Magic would ultimately beat Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls en route to the 1995 NBA Finals, where they fell to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets 



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