A great deal of attention has been paid to athletes who mismanage their finances and/or fall on hard times after the playing days are done.
Penny Hardaway is not that person.
Perhaps it began with a sound, unprecedented rookie contract in 1993, and an enviable Nike contract for that time period. Whatever the case, Hardaway has made grown man decisions about his finances, investments, and philanthropy, all of which make for one solid NBA legend.
Recent interviews with the web outlets of CNN and Black Enterprise indicate a man on fire. It seems as if Penny is hitting the next stride in his life, grateful for what he had, and now making the most of what he has.
He tells Black Enterprise about his admiration for Magic Johnson and Diddy’s business acumen, his current ventures like The Bottomline Sports Show where Hardaway and Chris Rock recently came together for a Lil’ Penny reunion, and future plans for a sports complex in is hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
Here is an excerpt from the BE interview…..
The Foamposites are one of Nike’s top-selling shoes. What is your current involvement with the Foamposites and which pair is your personal favorite?
As I am still under contract with Nike, I am involved in the process through speaking to the guys that are building the shoes about what’s coming out next. They’ll show me some colors that have already been made and they’ll ask me what I like, what would I change, and what I would like to be added.
My favorite pair has to be the blue originals. When they first came out in the ’90s it was a shocker because that was before they even started making blue shoes. I also think the solid black and solid white colorways are pretty dope.
You recently donated $1 million to your alma mater, the University of Memphis. You also decided to go back to school. What made you go back to get your degree 10 years after you left to play in the NBA?
I wanted to go back to school because I made my grandmother a promise that I was going. I believe that education is important. Getting a college degree is something that a lot of people don’t do, especially athletes. When I graduated, it was definitely the happiest day of my life because it was like I really accomplished going back to school after I left and I really did not have to. It makes me proud every time I say it to a kid or to anyone.
Do you have any advice for players on how they can set themselves up for life after basketball?
I do, though, I must say a lot of guys really don’t listen because they believe what the retired players come and tell them will never happen to them. Too often you will have the guy making $16 million on a team and a guy that is making the minimum is hanging out with him, spending all his money. Don’t try to go out here and buy jewelry, a lot of clothes, and the most expensive car. Take care of yourself but don’t be so “come up” that you spend all your money trying to “keep up.”
My advice is to always pay attention to your business. Always take the time on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to check on your bank account and pay your own bills. That’s one thing I started doing because at first, I was allowing the bank to pay my bills then I found out people were putting their cell phones on my account. Also, after you cover your mom and maybe buy you and her a house, put yourself on a legitimate budget.
Excellent, sage advice.
The fact that Penny still has one of the most popular basketball shoes ever made speaks volumes to the love and respect many fans still have for him and the excitement he brought to the NBA.
Personally speaking, I want Nike to make those Penny Hardaway Air Force 1′s.
Thanks, Pen, for being a shining example of success when there is so much focus on the negative side of an athlete’s life.