While appearing on the ESPN show “Get Up,” Penny Hardaway delivered the definitive answer to a question that surfaced soon after he was named head coach of the University of Memphis mens basketball team.
“Lil Penny is actually going to be coming back out soon,” Hardaway said of his doll-sized alter ego.
Lil Penny was a smash success for Nike and Hardaway, who at the time was a floor-running, move-making and often flashy guard for the Orlando Magic. Unlike Hardaway, Lil Penny was a smart talker. Chris Rock provided for the voice and Tara Banks was featured in cameos.
In a conversation last year, Hardaway asked if Rock wanted to be involved if Lil Penny ever returned to the scene. According to Hardaway, Rock was willing to be a part of the revival.
Hardaway don’t know
Why Lil Penny resonated — and continues to do — is not exactly clear to Hardaway.
“Maybe it was the comedy,” he said. “It made people laugh. It seems like ages ago.”
Rock and Hardaway never were together for the making of the commercials.
“I would have the voiceovers during my commercials and a lot of times they had to shoot the scenes over because I was laughing so much (about) what Lil Penny was saying. It hit bigger than I thought it would.”
The success of the ad campaign sky-rocketed Hardaway’s fame. And while for the former NBA All-Star has been out of the league since 2007, his signature shoe still is one of Nike’s most popular.