When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up to join the Miami Heat, the obvious joke is that all these old retired players (or Shaquille O'Neal) would beg to team up with them so they could win a ring. We all had fun joking that Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and others would be dialing up Pat Riley to explain why the Heat could use their services.
Little did we know how much of a harbinger those jokes were. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Penny Hardaway of all people wants to come back to the NBA to play for the Heat.
Penny Hardaway, the man who inspired original Nike puppet in the late 90s "Lil Penny," announced he is interested in competing for a role with the Miami Heat Thursday on an internet radio show called "The Bottom Line Sports Show."
"Mentally I was retired and physically I was retired. I was playing recreational ball," Hardaway said. "But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could really be good in that system."
Hardaway retired in 2006, but came back for 16 ill-fated games for the Heat during the 2007/08 season before retiring again. He's 39 years old.
Therefore, we need to turn on the spin detector for some of these quotes.
"Mentally I was retired and physically I was retired. I was playing recreational ball."
Translation: "I was completely incapable of playing professional basketball in any way, shape or form."
"But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could really be good in that system."
Translation: "But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could be really good at riding their coattails to a ring and making some money while doing it."
"I can understand where Michael Jordan was coming from coming out of retirement a couple times, I can understand where Brett Favre is right now. When you still have something in the tank it's really hard to let it go."
Translation: "I can understand where those guys are coming from. When you still are capable of being an attention whore, it's really hard to stay quiet and not feed the speculation that you might come back."
Hardaway said he sent text messages to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his former teammate Alonzo Mourning to express his interest in competing for a non guaranteed, one-year minimal role upon hearing "The Decision."
Translation: "Look guys, I'll do anything. I'll pretend to be a rookie and carry their bags. I'll wash their shoes. I'll tape them up before games. Just please give me a chance!"
Hardaway later added in the radio interview that he felt his veteran experience and leadership could be a benefit to younger players like Mario Chalmers.
Translation: "I'll even befriend one of the young guys so you can pick on me like you pick on him!"
He has not been in contact with Heat President Pat Riley.
Translation: "...because I know that meanie will say no."
"I love basketball and I didn't get a chance to finish my career the way I wanted."
Translation: "I need money and I didn't get a chance to make as much as I wanted."
Maybe an assistant coach role would be better, Penny. Just a thought.