Dwight Howard Wants Penny Hardaway’s Jersey Retired in Orlando

by November 14, 2011
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Penny Hardaway suited up and played in Dwight Howard’s charity game last night, and after the former Orlando Magic superstar got a rousing ovation from the crowd, Howard suggested that the team should hang up his jersey. Per the Sentinel: “When Dwight Howard thinks of the 1990s Orlando Magic, he doesn’t think of Shaquille O’Neal, the dominant big man who Howard is so often compared to. No, Howard says he associates those Magic teams with Penny Hardaway, who made four all-star teams with the Magic and Howard thinks so highly of Hardaway, in fact, that he thinks the organization should put Hardaway’s No. 1 jersey in the Amway Center rafters as its first retired number. ‘I think when the season starts – whenever that may be – he should have his jersey put up for what he did not just the team, but for the city,’ Howard said. ‘We all know how great Penny has been for the game of basketball.’ Judging by the reaction of the crowd at Howard’s all-star game Sunday night, he might get some support for the cause. The crowd went wild when Howard introduced Hardaway to the crowd — it was, by far, the loudest ovation any player received. ‘It’s great to have him here, man, it means a lot,’ Howard continued. ‘And for the fans, I know they were happy. Hopefully he gets what he deserves down here in this city.’ It was the first time Hardaway felt love from Orlando since the Magic traded him to Phoenix in 1999. That summer, new Magic GM John Weisbrod cleaned house – also trading franchise cornerstone Nick Anderson – and Hardaway’s breakup with Orlando didn’t go smoothly. He’s had a minimal relationship with the franchise since then. No appearances. No tributes. The Magic traded for his expiring contract in 2006 and waived him before Hardaway could even get on a plane to Orlando.”