Denton's Dish: The 5th Quarter (2/21/14)

   

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

The Magic continued their classy ``Legends Nights’’ program to celebrate the 25th Anniversary season by bringing back all-time great Penny Hardaway. The revolutionary 6-foot-7 point guard was a two-time first-team All-NBA performer and a four-time All-Star during his six seasons with the Magic from 1993-99.

Booed in past years for his controversial exit from the Magic, Hardaway was given a rousing ovation on Friday night. Many of the fans inside the Amway Center stood and cheered, and Hardaway seemed moved by the applause.

``I was young and things happened (when he voiced his desire to leave Orlando). This is where my career was built and really ends,’’ Hardaway said. ``Coming back shows that we’re trying to mend some of the fences, but it really wasn’t about mending anything. Just coming back and being involved, seeing Bo (Outlaw) and Nick (Anderson), seeing some of the teammates, it’s good. Hopefully I’ll be able to come around more and be more involved with the Magic.’’

Hardaway said of all his memories with the Magic the one that sticks out most prominently is the 1995 Game 7 victory against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The win vaulted Orlando into The NBA Finals for the first time.

``Winning that Game 7 against Indiana, I understood at an early age that we were making history as we went on,’’ Hardaway said. ``The franchise wasn’t a winning franchise (before the ’95 Finals run), and everything we were doing we were etching our names in stone as we were going along. We were making history. Winning that Game 7 was the biggest thing for me.’’

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