By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
NBA veteran Penny Hardaway’s moves on the court have inspired a new mixtape, The Era of Penny Hardaway, from a variety of underground artists from around the country like Brooklyn’s G-Lloyd, ELUS and Doc Holladay. Coinciding with this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game in Orlando–hip-hop bold faces like Rick Ross, French Montana and others are already enjoying the festivities— The Era of Penny Hardaway is a 28-track homage to the former point guard mixed by DJ Trey Nice, put together by G Waterz and Beyond Platinum Entertainment.
The mixtape is divided by the 1990s era and 2000s era, a reflection of Hardaway’s impressive 14-year NBA run spanning the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Miami Heat from 1993 to 2007.
“It’s very humbling,” Hardaway told RapFix exclusively about how it felt when he found out that he inspired the mixtape. “I’m a music lover–that’s how I get motivated everyday by chilling to music—and to have that happen was great. It’s something that a lot of people can’t say has happened to them.”
Although he’s never had musical aspirations of his own, Hardaway shared that he listens to artists like Jay-Z, Young, Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne and Drake before revving up for a game. Aside from “The Motto,” he muses, “One of the most hype songs to me is by Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean, “Gang Bang.”
Hardaway has had the sneaker world literally abuzz this week with his just-released Nike Foamposite Galaxy shoes. The $220 space-themed kicks have caused national pandemonium, even physical skirmishes, among sneaker aficionados hoping to snag one of the very few pairs available. The Washington Post reports, that more than 100 deputies in riot gear had to subdue an unruly crowd in Orlando, Florida while at a mall in Hyattsville, Maryland, one person was arrested for disorderly conduct, all around the sneaker’s Friday (February 24) release. Footwear giant Foot Locker even cancelled sales of the shoes at several locations out of concerns for public safety.
“The Foamposite is really a very nice shoe,” Hardaway muses, admitting that he had no idea it would be such a hot ticket item when creating the Galaxy design. “You can never imagine or try to predict that there would be this much pandemonium over your tennis shoe. You would hope so, that it would be crazy—not to the point of violence—but everybody wanting them, that’s a dream come true.”
Hardaway showed off his own pair in Friday’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, alongside celebrity players like J. Cole and Common, but then whipped out the even more exclusive Nike Foamposite Shooting Stars during the second half of the game.
Literally 1-of-1, the Orlando Magic-themed kicks may just be the most exclusive sneakers in the world right now, but Hardaway’s not sure if he’s ready to part with his size 14s just yet, and for what price. “They’re just in my possession and I’m enjoying them,” he laughs. “For my pair? I don’t know. It’s something to think about, you know. If I did auction them off or whatever, the money would go to charity, it wouldn’t come to me. I don’t know if I’m going to auction them off yet. I have to talk to my guy, but I would hope that if they were going to be auctioned off for charity, they would go for a lot of money.”