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Penny Hardaway Says He's 'One Of The Top Players To Ever Play The Game'

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Penny Hardaway is one of the biggest 'what-ifs' in NBA history after injuries prevented him from becoming a bigger legend in the association. The former Orlando Magic point guard started his career in a big way, but his body let him down as the years went by. 

Still, Penny made sure to leave a big mark while he was healthy and in his best version. He made it to the 1995 NBA Finals with Shaquille O'Neal, beating Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls in the process

After losing to the Houston Rockets that year, things went wrong for the Magic. They saw Shaq go and join the Los Angeles Lakers while Penny entered the worst part of his career, dealing with injuries that affected his game. 

Even so, Penny believes he did enough to be considered one of the best players to ever set foot on an NBA court. Earlier this week, the current Memphis Tigers head coach claimed he's one of the top players in the history of the league. 

“As a player, probably that I’m not one of the top players. I feel like I did get injured. But I showed enough in the game to know that I am one of the top players to ever play the game… When you know the game, and you’re the point guard of your team, you’re an extension of the coach… I don’t really care about what they feel or what they say, but I hear those things, and my whole motivation comes from me.”

Penny's played from 1993 through 2007, recording big performances during his first years in the association. Unfortunately, we couldn't see him reaching the level we all expected him to reach. Still, the magical years he had with Orlando will never be forgotten. 

Players like LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal have praised Hardaway in recent times, with Bron calling him his 'second favorite player of all time,' while Shaq said Penny was a combination of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Skillwise, he surely was one of the best ever. Sadly, we couldn't watch how great he would have been if he fought for more championships. Penny finished his career averaging 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per outing in 704 games.