Skip to main content

PENNY HARDAWAY DESCRIBES WHAT IT WAS LIKE PLAYING AGAINST JORDAN AND THE BULLS: "They pulled every one of your weaknesses"

penny hardaway vs michael jordan

Penny Hardaway made a guest appearance on the 'All The Smoke' podcast, where he talked about several things from his NBA career but also what it was like going against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls early in his career. When Penny joined the Orlando Magic in 1993/94 season, Jordan was already retired and playing baseball. Penny said he wanted to play against Jordan to test his skill set against the best player in the world. When Jordan finally announced he was coming back, Penny immediately knew he had to bring his A-game the first time they play against each other.

"I wanted to play against MJ, but then he retired before I came into the league. Then when I came into the league, he comes back, so my first mindset is damn MJ is back, and then I snapped out of it real quick and said you have to go at his ass. You have to get his respect because this is my favorite player. Magic was number one but who didn't like MJ."

Penny Hardaway, via All The Smoke

Penny remembers the first game of the 1995/96 season when he played against the Bulls and said the excitement was so great he couldn't sleep the night before. He wanted to prove his worth, primarily because of the fact Shaquille O'Neal didn't play that game. Hardaway didn't disappoint and dropped 36 points that game, beating the Bulls who ended up winning 72 games that season. Hardaway also said he had a feeling he pissed of Jordan because that was the last time the Magic beat them either in the regular season or the playoffs that year.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"When he came back, and we played them for the first time, I got the best of him and Pip that game. I think I had 36, and I didn't even sleep that night cause I was so hyped and ready to play that game. We won, but I think we only pissed them off. I pissed him off, and I know that for sure. It was early in the season, and we were one of the first teams to beat that 72-10 team, and that is the game when I had 36. Shaq didn't play that game because he was hurt, and I remember that game really well."

Penny Hardaway, via All The Smoke

During his time with the Magic, Penny had multiple opportunities to play against the Bulls, and one word that comes to his mind when describing that team is relentless. They tended to wore you down and made you work hard on both ends of the floor. That was evident in the 1996 ECF when the Bulls swept the Magic. That series showed how dominant the Bulls were, despite the fact the Magic were a great team that made it to the NBA finals the season before. Hardaway himself has a lot of appreciation for the Bulls and everything they did during their reign of the NBA.

"You had to get your sleep that night if you're about to play those guys because, honestly, they were just relentless. They pulled every one of your weaknesses. If you weren't a shooter, they would make you take jump shots, and if you tried to make it to the basket, they would plug in the paint. They were not going to give you your strengths and what you really loved to do. They were relentless all the time on what they needed to do. Offensively they ran the triangle to perfection. To me, as a competitor, I enjoyed every game against them because you knew you were playing against greatness."

Penny Hardaway, via All The Smoke

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Irving said that his decision to remain unvaccinated from COVID-19, which prevented him from playing for the Brooklyn Nets, cost him a new contract this offseason

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

“I don’t want to disappoint him" - Nikola Jokic credits the person behind his life-changing weight loss

Nikola Jokic has entrusted his career and life to the Nuggets' strength and conditioning coach. And he didn't make a mistake.

Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller

“I knew immediately” — Reggie Miller on scoring 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the New York Knicks

Reggie Miller gave Knicks forward Anthony Mason some props for delivering the best chest pass he's ever seen.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

“I don't think it will happen” — Draymond Green on getting a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors

Draymond said he won't let his contract situation get in the way of defending the title. Let's see if he feels the same way when Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins get an extension.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

“He was crying, bro” — Chauncey Billups revealed why Kobe Bryant was crying after making it to the 2009 NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant was so determined to win a championship without Shaquille O'Neal to the point that his emotions oftentimes consumed him.

Los Angeles Dodgers partner Magic Johnson and wife Cookie Johnson

“I bribed her. I gave her a million dollars” — Cookie Johnson's condition to allow Magic Johnson to return in 1995

The money was just a cherry on the top. Cookie gave Magic a clear ultimatum, or else she would've divorced him.

Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter

“I felt like it was close“ — Vince Carter revealed that he was close to teaming up with Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal's unwillingness to play in Canada was a harsh truth pill to swallow for Vince Carter, whose career would've probably been different if he had teamed up with O'Neal.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

“I appreciate the compliment. It's not going to soften me at all.” — Steph Curry brushes off Giannis Antetokounmpo calling him the “best player in the world”

Compliment or not, Steph Curry says he’s not going to let Giannis Antetokounmpo get into his head with some gamesmanship.