10 Things We Learned from Talking to Penny Hardaway about Lil Penny (via GQ)

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GQ — We’re not prone to making blanket statements about puppets, but let’s get saucy: Every single one of the Lil Penny commercials kills. Every. Single. One. To research this story, we watched, like, thirteen of Penny Hardaway’s vintage Nike ads in a row—“The Secret Service couldn’t guard me,” the “Frozen Moment” parody, “That was Tyra Banks, fool!,” “Ken Griffey Jr. for president,” “I guess Spike Lee wasn’t available,” the most baller Super Bowl party guest listof all time—and they’re all genius. (And that list doesn’t even count LP’s intro of the “NBA on NBC” coverage of the ’96 Magic vs. Bulls Eastern Conference Finals, in which he takes a table saw to a pair of Jordans “just to see what was inside.”)

Lil Penny was bizarro Hardaway—a wingman/coach/publicist/true player whose ego was everything Penny’s wasn’t. For much of the decade, Hardaway was one of the best in the game, a four-time All-Star, NBA Finalist, Olympic gold medalist, and guy touted as a league savior while that other guy was off taking batting practice and making Space Jam. And to this day, Penny says, he gets people coming up on the street and making puppet jokes.

Big Penny reflects on Lil Penny here.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

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