09 August 2007

Fuel For the Fire: Heat Sign Penny Hardaway

Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal went from being teammates in Orlando and in the Olympics to being rivals on new teams. They'll be back in action together this season with the Heat. (Note Grant Hill in the background of the Olympic picture. I weep for this franchise.)

Add another item to the list of reasons why the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat should hate each other.

Penny Hardaway has signed a one-year deal with the Heat
, reuniting him with former Magic teammate Shaquille O'Neal. Just off the top of my head, here's a list of players who have played for both the Magic and the Heat:
  • Michael Doleac
  • Keyon Dooling
  • Penny Hardaway
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Danny Schayes
  • Rony Seikaly
That list doesn't even count Stan Van Gundy, the Magic's newest head coach, who coached the Heat for two-plus seasons. It also doesn't count the fact that the Magic and Heat are in-state rivals, have played in the same division for their entire existence, and had a nice playoff rivalry once upon a time.

This signing is more or less a joke. Penny's skills began eroding during his time in Orlando, and he was a shadow of his former self when he played for the Suns and Knicks. Now, after being out of the NBA for nearly two years, he thinks he's going to come back and contribute significantly? Please. His bionic knee can't take any more than 15 minutes a night. If the Heat think Penny is going to replicate the production of Eddie Jones, who recently signed with Dallas, they've got another thing coming. As amagic25 put it over on Magic Madness, "the [H]eat is favored to win the 1995-1996 championship now."

Nonetheless, I'm happy with this news. Maybe the storylines between these two teams will be compelling enough that the Worldwide Leader will be forced to televise one of their games nationally.

1 comment:

MagicMadness said...

That comment by amagic was hilarious. I know a lot of fans are indifferent to Penny joining Shaq and the Heat, but I love it. Just seeing them together again (though neither are anywhere near the level they used to be at) is nice. It's like "wow, what was, and could have continued to be" if they never broke up in the first place (and of course if Penny didn't get injured and blast Magic management...).

The bottom line: this move won't improve the Heat much at all. But, for a Magic fan like myself who is nostalgic by nature, it'll be fun to see.