Skip to main content

Penny Hardaway explains how Magic Johnson revolutionized the point guard position

Penny Hardaway on how Magic Johnson help revolutionize the point guard position
Penny Hardaway always wanted to play against his idol Magic Johnson

Penny Hardaway always wanted to play against his idol Magic Johnson

Tall point guards and players that dictate an offense were a rarity in the NBA, as everybody over a certain height was instructed to go down low and do the dirty work. 

Magic changed the NBA

There was no way coaches would let a guy over 6'3-6'4 play point guard; it was considered a waste. The first player to break that mold was the great Earvin "Magic" Johnson. A 6'9'' point guard that revolutionized the game of basketball.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

His flashy style of play, uniqueness, and charisma inspired many other players to think outside of the box and develop their game in another way. One of them was Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, who reminded people a lot of Magic with his lanky 6'7'' stature and flashy style of play from the point guard position. In a bit from the '90s, Penny spoke about how Magic influenced him and became his idol.

"Everybody wanted to be Magic. Everybody wanted to throw fancy passes. He wanted to win so bad, but he always had fun; he's always smiling, he always appeals to the crowd, he always wanted the crowd to be in it because he knew that's what the team fed off, so he was smart in that aspect. ... That was my idol growing up, and he was the guy I really wanted to be like, he was the guy to set the tone for guys like myself to come into the game and play point guard being over 6'5'' and I was just telling him that it was just great to be out on the court at the same time as him."

Penny Hardaway

Penny wanted to compete against his idol

When Penny came to the NBA in 1993, Magic was already retired because of HIV, and Penny had given up hope to play against his idol. But his wishes got granted in 1995 when Magic came back for one more season. Even though he was 36 and out of his prime, Penny couldn't hide his excitement, finally seeing his idol in person, guarding him, and talking with him.

At the time, Penny was one of the rising stars in the NBA on the way to becoming one of the best players of his era. But numerous injuries stopped him from reaching his ceiling and maybe even getting close to the status of a Magic Johnson. Still, you can argue that these players' influence is felt in today's game since we have so many tall offense initiators like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons, or LeBron James dominating the game.

How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

“They are gonna have to f***ing kill me” - How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

Turiaf’s physical showed that he needed to have open-heart surgery, and despite being told his career may be over, Turiaf battled and eventually made his way back on the court

Shawn-Kemp-min

Shawn Kemp on why he left the Sonics: 'They weren’t going to pay me $100 million'

In 1997, Shawn Kemp left the Sonics because he felt that he deserves to be paid more. He got the deal he wanted with the Cavs but he eventually lost his desire to play.

glen-rice-allan

Glen Rice lauds a Filipino basketball legend: 'He’s up there...You talk about the Larry Birds, Glen Rices, Steph Currys'

Filipino basketball legend Allan Caidic nailed 14 three-pointers in a friendly game with Glen Rice in 2010. A decade later, "G Money" was still in awe of what he had witnessed from his fellow marksman

shaq-o'neal-wilt-chamberlain-kareem-abdul-jabbar-min

"I took it to another level!"-Shaquille O'Neal thinks he was better than Wilt and Kareem

Shaq took inspiration from the great big men and passed them over, in his opinion.

Looming NBA free agency market gave Kyrie Irving a reality check
Play

Kyrie Irving had a reality check with the market

This all relates to the fundamental Kyrie Irving problem; he is unreliable, he doesn't seem fun to play with, and he has a history of bailing on teams. This was simply a reality check for the man operating outside reality.

Draymond Green calls out Skip Bayless in the latest "new media" rant

“People don’t wanna hear that old, dried up, tired stuff that you talking about” -- Draymond Green rips Skip Bayless

The idea of Draymond Green's "new media" movement is to lessen the power of the Steven A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses of the world

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won in titles without Kevin Durant

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won titles without Kevin Durant: "We would not have beat the Cavs without Kevin”

Draymond Green admits the Golden State Warriors needed Kevin Durant to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.