NBA Legend Gave Interesting Reason for Choosing Penny Hardaway Over Kobe Bryant

Published 09/20/2021, 11:19 PM EDT
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. – APRIL 30, 2013. Kobe Bryant talks with reporters after his exit interview with the Lakers on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at the team’s training facility in El Segundo. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Many regard Kobe Bryant as one of the best players in basketball history. The five-time NBA champion spent his entire career with the Lakers and made 18 All-Star appearances in his 20-year-old NBA career. Kobe was a talented player in his early days, and his determination to stay at the top made him one of the best ever.

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Kobe dominated the NBA for two decades and overshadowed many talented players during his career.

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However, according to his former teammate Horace Grant, Penny Hardaway was as equally talented as Kobe. Penny spent most of his career at Orlando Magic before playing for three more teams in the league. But he never won an NBA title in his career.

Horace Grant picks Penny Hardaway over Kobe Bryant

An old interview of former Bulls star Horace Grant saw him comment about who was more talented between Penny Hardaway and Kobe Bryant. He said: “They’re both right there. I can’t say one is more talented.”

When asked if Penny would have been as good as Kobe if he managed to stay fit, Grant agreed and said: “I agree with you, without a doubt. I’m serious. I’m a six-seven six-eight. Can see the floor, three-pointers, drive to the basket, assist, you name it.”

The host then asked Grant about who’s more fun to play with. Grant, who initially answered ‘Shaquille O’Neal’, later picked Penny Hardaway over Kobe Bryant.

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Golden State Warriors drafted Penny Hardaway in 1993, but traded him to Orlando Magic. Penny quickly established himself as an integral piece at the Magic and became a starter in his first three seasons. However, injuries hit him badly, and he missed many games of his peak years. In fact, he was shot by a stray bullet in his college days, which put his career in jeopardy.

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However, he bounced back and got drafted in the NBA two years later. Though he made it, he was always held back by injuries. And at the same time, Kobe entered the NBA and dominated the league for the next decade, breaking several records.

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Abhishek Singh

187 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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