Before injuries derailed his career, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway was one of the most exciting, promising young players in the league. He made four All-Star teams and three All-NBA teams in his first six seasons with the Orlando Magic before being dealt to the Suns, where his body slowly deteriorated.
He was also the star of some of Nike's most popular commercials of the 90s, along with a Chris Rock-voiced sidekick named Lil' Penny.
According to Hardaway, the offcourt persona is an essential part of being an NBA superstar, and that's why he thinks San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard doesn't deserve the title. Hardaway explained his position on Sirius XM's NBA show, "Bottomline."
"Superstar? No. Kawhi Leonard is not a superstar because he has no interest in being the face of the league or starring in TV commercials," Hardaway said. "He's a good player, but I wouldn't consider him a superstar player."
On the surface it seems ridiculous to think that the player who came in third in last season's MVP voting isn't a superstar, but that's not how Hardaway's logic seems to work. If his definition of a superstar is someone who is "the face of the league" and stars in commercials, Leonard certainly isn't that. But, from everything we know about Leonard and his personality, he probably doesn't care what anyone calls him as long as the Spurs keep winning.