After a Philadelphia 76ers game before he went on to dominate the league for two decades, Kobe Bryant was seeking advice from one of the league’s brightest stars on what to do with his basketball career after high school.
“I had never known who Kobe was,” Penny Hardaway said on the latest episode of SHOWTIME’s All The Smoke. “And I felt so bad because afterward he asked me should he go [to the draft]. I said I don’t know young fella you may need to go ahead and go to college.”
Hardaway was at the height of his prime on and off the court with movies, endorsement deals, and plenty of early success on the hardwood with the Orlando Magic. Even though Kobe went on to win numerous national player of the year awards in his senior season, it is easy to imagine Hardaway being too caught up in NBA life to keep tabs on the high school scene. Bryant unsurprisingly held on to this conversation for years.
Kobe said Shaq was "really nice" when he met him as a kid. But, "Penny, not so much. I kinda carried that w/ me for the rest of my career."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 28, 2016
“He never forgot that conversation,” Hardaway said with a smile.
Hardaway went on to describe how a young Kobe called him out at one of Magic Johnson’s popular “Midsummer Nights” all-star charity games after making the NBA.
“I said oh sh*t, this dude remember me,” said the four-time all-star. “I knew then that he was going to be unstoppable going forward.”