Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway was born July 18, 1971.
Hardaway's nickname came from his grandmother calling him "pretty," which sounded like "Penny" with her southern accent.
Hardaway played his high school ball in Memphis, where he averaged more than 35 points per game. As one of the best basketball players in his state, Hardaway decided to stay in the area, and committed to Memphis State.
At 6-7, the unusually tall point guard racked up multiple triple doubles during his collegiate career, drawing comparisons to Magic Johnson.
Deciding to forgo his senior season, Hardaway declared for the 1993 NBA draft. The Golden State Warriors selected Hardaway with the third overall pick, and subsequently traded him along with three future first-rounders to the Orlando Magic for the first overall pick (Chris Webber).
In his rookie season, Hardaway helped guide the Magic to their first 50-win season, as well as the franchise's first playoff berth. He averaged 16 points, 6.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds per game, and was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year.
During the 1994-95 season, Hardaway established himself as a top point guard, and went to his first All-Star game, as well as the All-NBA First Team.
Hardaway continued to improve in his third season, making a second consecutive the All-NBA First Team. He finished second in MVP voting, and was the only player in the league to average more than 20 points, five assists, and shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
Early in the 1997-98 season Hardaway suffered a knee injury, and was only able to play 19 games. The fan favorite was voted to his fourth consecutive All-Star game nonetheless.
During the summer of 1999, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Danny Manning, Pat Garrity, and two first-round picks. Unfortunately, Hardaway continued to damage his left knee, which reduced his explosive ability. During the course of his four and a half seasons with the Suns, Hardaway was unable to replicate the success of his first five seasons with the Magic.
In 2004, Hardaway was traded to the New York Knicks. His career continued to spiral downward, and he was reduced to a bench role. 2007 was Hardaway's final season, where he was reunited with former teammate Shaquille O'Neal on the Miami Heat for the veteran minimum.
Although the latter half of his career was restricted by injuries similarly to fellow All-Star Grant Hill, Hardaway was a unique talent that could have been a Hall of Famer.