Penny Hardaway was one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history. From being a prolific player who could score at will to getting his career ruined by injuries. The league never got to see Penny at his 100% for more than 2-3 seasons.
During the time Penny was rising to stardom, the Orlando Magic had amazing runs in both the regular season and the postseason. After all, Hardaway had a young and super athletic Shaquille O'Neal by his side. Once the duo broke up, Shaq joined the Lakers and he paired up with Kobe Bryant.
The two stars won three NBA championships together and are regarded as two of the greatest players in NBA history.
While there is no doubt that Kobe had immense talent, after all, he won five rings in his 20-years long career in the league.
If there was one thing that Kobe was never good at, it was gelling in with his teammates. The Mamba went through several altercations with his teammates during his career.
Additionally, he could sometimes turn a tad bit too selfish in crucial moments of the game. Former NBA player Horace Grant shared the court with both Penny and Kobe during his career.
In a recent interview, Grant revealed that he would rather play with Hardaway than Bryant, and there was a perfectly good reason for it.
"Talent? Oh man, that’s very tricky. They’re both right there. I can’t say one is more talented.”
"Without a doubt," Grant said when asked if Penny could have reached Kobe's levels if it weren't for injuries. "I’m talking about 6’7”, 6’8” can see the floor, three-pointers, drive to the basket, assists, you name it. All-around game."
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Finally, the four-time NBA champion gave his reasons for why he preferred to play with Penny over Kobe.
"They were both fine with me man. If I had to pick, I would say Penny. Penny, you can go up and say, ’Yo, Penny, I need a couple of shots, man.’ ‘Ok, alright, imma get you the ball.' Kobe would say, ‘Hey, get it off the rebound’.”
Grant is 100% correct about Kobe not passing the ball. In fact, he even told Shaquille O'Neal to get the ball off the rebound. So that probably would have happened to Grant as well.
Anyway, despite his lack of ability to be more in sync with his teammates, Kobe always delivered when it mattered the most. His methods might be unorthodox or even a bit too much sometimes, he won five NBA championships in his career. Couple that with his other accolades, it is no surprise why he is regarded as one of the best players to ever play in the league.