Four-time NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway remembered a funny story involving the late Kobe Bryant on the All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
Hardaway met Kobe for the first time when the Los Angeles Lakers legend was in highschool. The young Kobe approached then-Orlando Magic star for advice about what he should do ahead of the NBA Draft. But Hardaway did not know who the kid was.
“I met Kobe when he was in highschool and I didn’t know who he was. Obviously, I’m the man in the NBA, I got Little Penny commercials, I got my signature shoe, I’m on top of the world, I’m First Team All-NBA. He came to me after Sixers game and asked me what he should do on going to the Draft,” Hardaway recalled.
“I have never known who Kobe was. I felt so bad afterwards because he asked me should he go. I said ‘I don’t know young fella you might need to go to college.’ This is Kobe Bryant! He was like ‘They’re telling me I’m gonna be lottery’ and I said ‘Well, if they’re saying you’re gonna be lottery dawg, then you should go,’ I changed that cause I didn’t know who he was.”
A couple of years later, Kobe was in the NBA and he called out Hardaway during one of Magic Johnson’s summer All-Star games. The rest is history.