Posted by Matt Moore
Gilbert Arenas has decided to wear No. 1 in Orlando and will debut his new jersey tonight against the Atlanta Hawks. The reason this is notable? Arenas says it's in honor of Penny Hardaway.
Hardaway, arguably the second biggest star in Magic history behind Shaquille O'Neal, played six season for Orlando. He was not only a basketball phenom in his early years, but a cultural one as well, starring in the infamous "Lil' Penny" commercials. A reminder:
Ah, the nineties. When men were Arsenio Hall and women were Annie Lennox. Also, it's hard to believe now that KG and the wee Penny would be friends unless Lil' Penny was screaming obsenities every forty seconds and carving off his own fingers to get psyched up.
Arenas has always wanted to be with the Magic. He actually wanted the Magic to draft him. As he told Magic.com in an introductory interview Monday:
QUESTION: I remember talking with you at the pre-draft camp in 2001 and you really wanted the Magic to draft you, right?via MAGIC: Denton Chats With Arenas .
GILBERT ARENAS: "It was because I was a Penny Hardaway fan. It was funny when I played in Los Angeles all of my friends would say, `I hope you get traded to Orlando, your favorite team or some other team. It was funny because as soon as I got traded I thought, ``You’re there! Now pick No. 1. Yeah, that’s No. 1 is what I’m going to wear for Penny Hardaway."
So Gil's pretty excited to be with the Magic, and it all gets back to a player who had a sterling eraly career, then suffered injuries and was never the same.
The irony, it is dripping off the keyboard and into my lap.