Monday, August 21st, 2006 at 10:51 am  |  18 responses

SLAM #30

Cash Money

Originally published in SLAM 30

The 6th Man: I feel I should be a role model. I’m tired of the bad connotations with my name.Chris Webber, to SLAM, October ‘97

Dear Chris Webber:

I don’t know you—let me say that right up front. We’ve met on a couple of occasions, mostly after games or at some event, but I have no insight into what makes you you. So if you’d like to take my comments with a grain of salt, it’s certainly your prerogative. Here’s hoping you don’t, though.

One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made here at SLAM was putting you on the cover of the January ’98 issue. Initially, I was vehemently against it. I felt that your career has been marked by a repeated failure to perform in the clutch coupled with a propensity to stick your nose in where, as an employee, it did not belong, i.e. personnel decisions. (Although, for whatever it’s worth, I’m sure the bad situation with Nellie at G. State was because he was such a hump.) Others on the staff were vocal in your defense, and eventually I caved. I caved when I observed that the off-the-court Chris Webber was a nice guy who was respectful and always had a smile or an encouraging word to keep lesser teammates in the game or a latch-key kid in school. This is what I saw.

And you know what? Even though the issue was one of the poorest selling in SLAM history, I never once regretted my decision. Especially after watching kids respond to you, not in the wide-eyed way they respond to the superheroic MJ, but as if you were their older brother, as if you really cared how they were doing when you asked. (And I believed you did.) I realized then that what you represented in life was a whole hell of a lot more important than your on-court failings.

Lately, however, the moral highground on which you stand has been shakier than the Mailman’s knees during the Finals. I won’t list your transgressions; sadly, they’re far too numerous (and, frankly, depressing) to mention here. But I feel compelled to tell you that you’re one step away from the CBA and two steps from Turkey. For all the talents you possess—and they are prodigious—teams are becoming less inclined to deal with the kind of bullshit you’ve been slinging. Which, in case you were wondering, explains Sacramento.

Despite all of your antics, though, I still believe that you’re a good guy. I really do. I guess I’m just tired of watching you piss your career down the drain. The kids are watching you, yo. Make a difference.

This is your October ’98 wake-up call. Now wake the F up.


Tony Gervino

PS. To our readers: In case you were wondering, Mike Miller won’t be writing our Basketball Diary anymore, because even though we weren’t paying him a penny, some NCAA rule prohibits it. Thanks Mike, we’ll be checkin’ for you, and Mike Dunleavy, Jr.’s gonna hold the spot down.

Issue 30 Penny

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  • Marcel Mutoni

    that’s one of my favorite issues. it was fun reading Penny dissing Sir Charles in the Q&A.

  • drudown

    Man I miss that guy

  • http://slamonline.com Marcel Mutoni

    oh, and the Scoop piece on the playground baller (Ed Harris?) was dope.

  • Efehi Ogbebor

    The game would be alot different if Penny never got hurt

  • NBA Live 4 Life

    You got that right Efehi Ogbebor!
    I never liked seeing T-Mac in Penny’s number when he was with the Magic…

  • http://slamonline.com Carlos Gomez

    Penny Still Da Man Regardless If T-mac Took The # or not Ya Dig

  • johhnyblaze

    man, i wish M&N would do throwback jerseys of penny hardaway and grant hill. those two guys are the best players that could’ve been

  • Noel24laker

    Yup penny was killing teams and look how skinny he was
    penny is way better than lebron was in his third season

  • pennyfan88

    penny before he got injured was playing like kobe and was like the main superstars like those of lebron, t mac, vince carter type of players back then before he got injured.
    ayo i got da full lenght interview right here

  • Phila

    Penny Hardaway is the man. Took the magic to the finals with Shaq, and has the record for the most three pointers made in a 4 game finals series. I wish he were still as good as he used to be, i miss ya penny!

  • D Tox

    I hate seeing penny on the court now because all that comes to mind is what could have been. He had the dopest shoes, commercials, and most importantly the tightest game. In a sense, he is no different from a playground legend that never got his shot at the “L” because he never reached his full potential. All were left with is “what if’s” but I guess thats life.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    I groveled at the shrine of l’il penny.
    I bought EVERY pair of air penny’s i could get.
    Seeing him dunk on Patrick, go behind-the-back to Nick Anderson or just hesitate dribble-shake and bake-then slice to the hoop against any fool whoe dared defend him was pure….ecstasy.
    Anfernee, even though MJ. brought my attention from soccer to the hardwood, YOU made me an addict. Thank you for that.
    Much respect and fix them knees.

  • greg

    Penny is the greatest ever period.

  • nicholas

    penny is still #1… he is my fav player ever. I collect all the kicks, jerseys (magic,suns,knicks). Oh, man… i really miss his game.. back in the day like the old penny!!

  • synovia

    I’ve been following Penny since the ’90s when he played for the University of Memphis better known as MSU. At each game they would pass out full size brass pennies with his picture on it…if you’re guessing, yes – I have one and signed by the “man”. I pull it out every now and then and reminsce….what a GREAT player!!!!

  • Maik Hebold

    Penny WAS “da man”!! I miss him a lot!

    -Maik “Robin” Hebold (Thuringia, Germany)

  • Davey

    penny was a great superstar in 90′s he had a great memories while playimg in orlando…. i knew he would be the next magic johnson bcz of his passing abilities & great nolook pass…. its sad to say that his time is over….

  • realosophy

    penny was the best ever when he was healthy