Sports Files - Jan. 4, 2013

Uploaded by WKNOPBS on 07.01.2013

>> female announcer: This is a
production of WKNO, Memphis.
Production funding for "Sports
Files" is made possible in part
>> Gaston: My guest today on
"Sports Files" is former Memphis
Tigers All-American and NBA All-
Star Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway.
>> (instrumental music)
>> Gaston: Happy New Year
The city of Memphis, and the
surrounding metro area, has been
known for many years as a haven
for some of the best round ball
players in the country.
In sports terms, when asked for
a Memphian to describe their
home, the usual response is
"It's a basketball town".
The list of star basketball
players that have called the
area home is both extensive and
But the three names that will
stand the test of time are
Larry, Keith and Penny.
As in Finch, Lee and Hardaway.
Today, the legendary Penny
Hardaway joins me to talk about
his impact on the University of
Memphis then and now.
His commitment to the community
and his financial stake in the
Memphis Grizzlies.
And later Penny and I will be
joined by Travis Haddock, the
creator of one of the top high
school basketball tournaments in
the country, which just so
happens to bare the name of
It's a full out, full court
press with Anfernee "Penny
Hardaway" next on "Sports
>> (instrumental music)
>> Gaston: Penny, happy New
Thanks so much for being with
>> Hardaway: Thanks.
>> Gaston: I know you're always
up to a lot of different things
but right now you're coaching
this Lester Middle School.
And it's become a big story
Tell us about coaching and how
much you enjoy going back to the
>> Hardaway: Well it started
last year.
I joined a team.
We had such a successful season
that CNN got interested, came in
and did an article on the team.
The article got so many hits on
the website.
So we're writing a book right
And then the movie will be
coming out in the near future,
"Behind the Lester Middle Team."
So I'm very excited about that.
>> Gaston: So it will be more
like a documentary?
>> Hardaway: A documentary and a
>> Gaston: Wow!
>> Hardaway: Yes.
>> Gaston: You going to play
>> Hardaway: Yes I am.
No, really-both are going to
>> Gaston: How about that?
Now is this something?-the
coaching aspect.
Because you didn't jump in to it
once you retired from the NBA.
Do you see yourself coaching
down the line?-maybe in college
or high school or anywhere.
Or do you just like what you're
>> Hardaway: I'm not sure.
I really like what I'm doing
right now because I really went
back to my community and the
Binghampton community to try to
give back to the school and to
the community and it ended up
having a great team.
And a lot of people came in
nationally and recognized that.
And I really haven't thought
further than that.
But I really like what I'm doing
right now with Lester Middle.
>> Gaston: Well as I said
earlier, I don't know when you
sleep because you're always
doing things.
And now you've made a financial
commitment to the Memphis
What do you think about being a
part owner of an NBA team?
>> Hardaway: It's a dream come
I mean, to be able to play
basketball for a living was
great but to be able to be paid
and play basketball was even
But to be able to buy in to the
team is unbelievable to even
fathom because I never thought
that I would be an owner.
You know, my dream was to play.
And after I played, I never
thought that this opportunity.
>> Gaston: Once Robert Pera took
over, they brought in a lot of
owners for this minority group-
Justin Timberlake, a fellow
Memphian, and other.
They're in entertainment and
some are in business but you're
a former player and a star
player at that.
And your friend Elliot Perry,
another former Tiger great and
NBA player.
So do they look at you in a
different light
>> Hardaway: Well what happened
initially, they wanted me to
come and be involved just from
the community standpoint of
trying to bridge the gap between
the fans, the community and the
And while I was doing so, the
opportunity came about to be in
the minority ownership.
But yeah, definitely.
I'm going to bring hopefully my
basketball knowledge to the
But being able to just loan some
things to the player and to the
coaching staff and to the
organization from my knowledge.
>> Gaston: So you're coaching
You're obviously keeping an eye
on what the Grizzlies are doing
as a part owner of the team.
And of course, your beloved
Memphis Tigers.
You're at many games.
What do you think about this
Tiger team that again, was
nationally ranked, dropped out
very quickly after they
sputtered in the Bahamas, and
now trying to get their legs
What do you think of this team
this season?
>> Hardaway: Well it's been
interesting because a lot of
guys haven't really stepped up.
I mean, especially on the
defensive end.
I think everything that's been
in the history of Memphis
basketball has restarted with
defense first and then offense
And I think this year's team has
to buy in to that effect.
And I'm sure Josh is screaming
and telling them that but it has
to transfer over in to the games
because you have to win games.
>> Gaston: Penny, you were one
of the guys who lived in
Memphis, played for your
hometown team and had a lot of
There have been others that have
How hard is it for the Memphian
to stay at home and play for the
University of Memphis?
>> Hardaway: It's very hard
because a lot of kids can't
handle that pressure.
If you do decide to stay at home
and you're a superstar player,
there's going to be a lot.
You carry the entire weight of
the city on your back and that's
something that I welcome because
I felt like I could handle it.
But it's not for everybody.
It's just once the pressure
starts to build when you're not
playing well, you have to be
able to handle that and channel
it towards working harder and
>> Gaston: A lot of the blame
when the team struggles-and
there's a number of Memphians on
the team-but it happens to fall
on the shoulders of Joe Jackson.
Joe Jackson's playing terrific
basketball right now.
He seems to have weathered the
What do you think about this
young man and the pressure he's
had, the King of Memphis.
They don't expect you to be an
So there's been a lot of heavy
weight that he's had to carry.
>> Hardaway: Well, the city
expects a lot out of Joe.
It's not something that, you
know, that it's a surprise to
him because he expects a lot out
of himself.
Like you said, he's weathered
the storm.
They were very hard on him.
I mean, some of them was
rightfully so.
But a lot of it was unfair.
But that's the title that you
get when you stay at home and
you're a hometown hero.
And they expect for you to come
in and win.
And I'm so happy to see him
playing well right now.
>> Gaston: You are a terrific
alum of the University of
Memphis not only with your
support, being at games.
Everybody knows the million
dollars you gave to the hall of
fame which is now in your name,
the Anfernee Penny Hardaway
Athletic Hall of Fame.
How cool is it to drive by that
street and see your name up
there knowing-Hey, that's me!
>> Hardaway: It's unbelievable
I tell my friends these type of
things don't happen to people
until they pass away.
You know you get the greatest
things when you pass away which
is the saddest thing.
But to be able to drive by and
see my name on the building and
be able to enjoy it and go
inside of there and see some of
the things that we've done-the
athletes have done-over the
history of the University of
Memphis makes me feel great
because it's right behind the
dorm room that I stayed in my
freshman year.
I mean, it's great.
It just took back the memories
>> Gaston: if you could change
one thing from your playing days
at the University of Memphis-one
moment, one game-what would it
You could change one thing.
>> Hardaway: When I played?
>> Gaston: Mhmm.
>> Hardaway: That Cincinnati
game that we lost in the Elite
I wish that I could have just
changed that just to get to the
Final Four.
I wanted to win a championship
that year.
I mean, it was all Memphis guys
on the team.
That was something that was
unheard of-everybody being from
the same city on one team.
And we went so far.
If I could change that, I would.
>> Gaston: How tough was that?-
knowing you were that close.
>> Hardaway: Well when we got
the draw, you know, when
Cincinnati-I think they beat
UTEP almost beat them that game.
I was hoping for UTEP because I
understood the dominance that
Cincinnati had against us but
when we got Cincinnati it was
like-Hey, we know what we have.
They used to us.
We used to them.
Let's go out and play the game.
And they were just-they were
just better.
We just didn't get over the hump
but I wish I could get that game
>> Gaston: Do you have any
regrets from your playing days?
Is there anything that you would
>> Hardaway: At University of
>> Gaston: Mhmm.
>> Hardaway: No, not at all.
I mean, I think I left school in
a timely fashion and when I had
to because I was going to be a
top three pick.
Academically I had achieved
things that I wanted to achieve
because I was on the Dean's
There really wasn't anything
left but my family being in the
situation that we were in.
But I really don't have any
regrets at the University of
It was one of the best times of
my life being there because I
was able to be home.
I was very successful there.
And we were winning.
What more could ask for?
>> Gaston: You move on to the
Success right there from the
get-go, all all-star.
And then obviously you had the
injuries later in your career.
I would guess if I ask you the
question about regrets for the
professional career, it would be
having to cut the career a
little bit short, right?
>> Hardaway: Well I think the
biggest regret I have was that I
didn't get my self well after my
first surgery.
I kept playing--trying to be
tough, trying to play through
the pain.
And it ended up haunting me.
Like now, I see guys sit out for
long periods of time.
Like Derrick Rose is out and the
Bulls are saying don't come back
until you're ready.
>> Gaston: Yeah, it wouldn't
happen today.
>> Hardaway: No, back when I
played, they kind of was like
-"Hey, we need you on the floor.
"At 50 percent, you're better
than what we would have out
So you were kind of, you know,
pushed in a direction of going
back out on the floor.
And I hate that I did that.
>> Gaston: Best player you
played with, best player you
played against in the NBA.
>> Hardaway: Best player I
played with was Shaq.
>> Gaston: Sure.
>> Hardaway: And the best player
I played against was Michael
>> Gaston: That's some pretty
good choices.
Alright, let's take Shaq and MJ
out of it.
Who would be second then?
>> Hardaway: I would say Jason
Kidd was the second best player
I played with-unbelievably
And the second best player that
I played against would have been
Gary Payton.
>> Gaston: Gary Payton-Glove.
>> Hardaway: Gary was very tough
defensively and offensively.
>> Gaston: Penny, how did Little
Penny come about?
>> Hardaway: Little Penny came
about because of my shyness.
I wasn't really like outspoken
and there was an advertisement
agency called Wieden and Kennedy
that worked for Nike.
Came up with the idea that-Hey,
we should get an alter ego,
someone that's going to talk
smack because you won't.
And your game-I just let me game
talk for itself.
So they were like-We'll let
somebody talk your game for you.
And I was like-You know what?
That sounds pretty good because
I thought I love comedy and I
knew it would be funny.
And it just ended up just being
a great idea.
>> Gaston: Do you have a Little
Penny puppet in your house?
>> Hardaway: I do have one.
I do have a Little Penny puppet.
>> Gaston: Do you have any idea
how many were made?-how many
were manufactured.
>> Hardaway: I think they made
them way too late because we
didn't really jump on it when we
needed to.
But I don't know how many were
>> Gaston: Do you remember any
funny outtake from the
commercials or anything you were
involved with with Little Penny?
Of course the voice, Chris Rock-
that was something that would
never air because it was an
Anything that you an bring up?
>> Hardaway: No, not really
because I never filmed on set
with Chris.
He did his part, his voiceover,
and I heard the voiceover as I
was talking.
And that was my first time
hearing it as well as everyone
And I laughed every take because
I was laughing at what Little
Penny was saying because I
hadn't heard it until the point
and when I got in to the
So the outtakes were me probably
laughing at what Chris was
>> Gaston: How different is the
game today?
I mean, we talked about
Obviously if you got hurt in
this day and age, you would not
have played through it.
They would have taken care of it
medically before you were back
in the game.
But other than that, what
different do you see in the game
today in 2012 than when you
>> Hardaway: I think it's our
game was a lot tougher.
You could hand check.
You could play more physical.
It took a lot more to get a
Nowadays Commissioner Stern
wants the points to be up and
not down, you know, for
So every little touch foul now
is a foul.
And that makes the game, to me
and the old school guys, a lot
worse but it helps the fan
understand that it's about
They want it to be more
offensive in the NBA versus when
I played.
>> Gaston: We're going to go
back to the University of
Memphis and again, you're not
only involved with financial
commitment but I'm sure there
are a lot of times when they
confer in you, they ask you
about things.
What is your take on this Big
East situation?
>> Hardaway: You know, it's
really hurtful seeing what's
happening, you know, right now.
>> Gaston: Once you got in,
>> Hardaway: Yeah, once you got
I love the move because the move
is needed.
You know we needed to get to a
bigger conference and we did so.
And then all of a sudden, the
teams that we were going to play
against are leaving.
But there's nothing we can do
about it.
I mean, I love making that
change though.
It gives us recruiting in that
area, you know, in the east
where we really couldn't recruit
the New York kids and the DC
Now we can recruit those kids.
And the Big East is still better
than where we are right now.
Not to dog our conference but
it's still going to be better
>> Gaston: There's always the
question whether or not a player
plays, goes to the school for
the school or for the coach.
And most of the time, our answer
is the coach.
But would you have come?
Would you have stayed at home
and played for Memphis no matter
who the coach was?
>> Hardaway: Yes, I would have
stayed home because I was just a
home guy.
I love the University of
The teams with Andre Turner and
Keith Lee and those guys really
sold me on the University of
And I bled blue and grey.
So I wasn't going to go
anywhere-even today.
>> Gaston: So you were an easy
>> Hardaway: Yes.
>> Gaston: I could have
recruited you.
>> Hardaway: Yes, it was easy.
>> Gaston: Alright, you have a
passion for golf now.
And I know you still play pick-
up basketball and you love the
game of basketball.
But you really have fallen in
love with the game of golf.
Why?-What's the connection?
>> Hardaway: It's so competitive
and a lot of people don't
understand you can't beat the
You can go out one day and shoot
a low score.
And the next day, it's a high
And that drives me crazy because
basketball comes so easy to me.
And golf is so difficult.
And I think it drives me to be
perfect in an imperfect game.
So that's why I love golf so
>> Gaston: Do you have your own
>> Hardaway: I do.
>> Gaston: So you work hard on
You just don't go out there and
play and have fun.
You want to be good and you want
to be the best you can be when
you go out there on the links,
>> Hardaway: Absolutely.
Like I said in sports,
everything has come to me very
And then to get in to golf and
everything be a struggle, I had
to get instruction and try to
get myself to a scratch level or
a plus handicap level so I can
enjoy the game.
>> Gaston: Well it's a fantastic
career that you've had.
Obviously it's a great life that
you have and we're real happy
that you've done so much for
this community and helped out
everybody here, Penny.
It's been an absolute pleasure.
We like to end our interviews.
And of course you'll be here
when Travis joins us to talk
about Penny Hardaway's Hoop
Fest, another thing certainly
you're involved in.
But we end our interviews with
five for the road.
So five questions from me.
Real quick answers.
Whatever comes to mind first.
Favorite professional team as a
kid growing up?
>> Hardaway: Dallas Cowboys.
>> Gaston: Dallas Cowboys!
Still a Cowboys fan?
>> Hardaway: Yes, yes.
>> Gaston: Tough one.
>> Hardaway: Yeah.
>> Gaston: Fan of Tony Romo?
>> Hardaway: I am, I am.
>> Hardaway: But I've been a
Cowboys fan for a very long
>> Gaston: Favorite professional
athlete-any sport.
>> Hardaway: Deion Sanders.
>> Gaston: Primetime!
Favorite musician or singer or
group or band?
>> Hardaway: That's tough.
Favorite musician of all time?
>> Gaston: Yes.
Are you more old school music or
new school?
>> Hardaway: I'm old school.
I could say someone like -
You can't go wrong with Marvin
>> Gaston: Marvin Gaye-Alright.
Final two.
Favorite television show of all
>> Hardaway: Man, I'm a TV Land
I love TV.
That's hard to do.
Favorite TV show of all time.
>> Gaston: Tough one.
>> Hardaway: Yeah.
I would say-
>> Gaston: You said you have a
sense of humor.
Is there a comedy you like?
>> Hardaway: Yeah, it's going to
I love, like, "Red Fox"-like
"Sanford and Son" and those
>> Gaston: I watched that with
my father when I was a kid.
>> Hardaway: I would say
"Sanford and Son."
>> Gaston: It was back to back.
You're too young.
You watch the replay.
You watched the reruns.
I watched the first run with my
father when it was "Sanford and
Son" and "Chico and the Man"
when it was back to back.
Alright, favorite movie of all
It has to be-does it not?
Blue Chips?
>> Hardaway: Blue Chips is one
of them.
There might be one.
One could be A Soldier's Story.
>> Gaston: A Soldier's Story-
great movie!
What was that like, by the way?-
real quick.
We're running out of time.
But playing in a movie-Blue
Nick Nolte, of course.
>> Hardaway: Nick Nolte was
It was fun.
It was a lot of hurry up and
But I really enjoyed being in LA
for the summer filming that
>> Gaston: Have you, by the way,
had a chance to go and play pick
up with Jason Levien and the
guys over at the Grizzlies?
>> Hardaway: Not yet.
We will do that this year for
>> Gaston: Absolutely.
Thank you, Penny.
>> Hardaway: Thank you for
having me.
>> Gaston: Hang in there.
We're going to get Travis
We'll talk about Penny
Hardaway's Hoopfest in just a
We'll take a quick break.
When we come back, time for
Memphis entrepreneur Travis
Haddock came to Penny two years
ago to be a part of what Travis
was hoping would become one of
the nation's top prep basketball
The result? -- the Penny
Hardaway National Hoopfest.
This year's second annual event
will take place next week,
January 10th through the 12th,
Travis, last year was
sensational-your first year
Second year-You're getting ready
for bigger and better things.
You've changed around a little
>> Haddock: We changed a little
We decided to regional.
We already knew it was
recognized nationally very well
but we wanted to also
regionalize the event to
include-add-another day so we
can get some more Memphis teams.
You know, and we like the way
this is turning out.
>> Gaston: So Dyer County for
the first two days.
The White Station High School.
>> Haddock: That's correct.
>> Gaston: You've also added an
event in Las Vegas.
>> Haddock: the Penny Hardaway
in Las Vegas National Hoopfest.
Superbowl weekend we're going to
>> Gaston: And why add that?
Why add the one in Las Vegas?
>> Haddock: It's more like why
not Las Vegas because, you know,
we had talked when we first
start getting towards expand out
and to brand the event.
And we really-The most important
thing is to do something that
nobody else has done.
You know, and that's when you
take the best teams in America,
having good relationships with
those teams and you take them to
Therefore it develops an
emotional attachment to the
event that you wouldn't
typically see.
They're not just other games.
These games really mean
something to the teams.
And it becomes very community-
oriented because the fans in
those cities don't want their
local teams to lose.
>> Gaston: Alright, let's talk
about some of those big boys
that will be coming to Dyer
County and White Station High
School for this year's event.
>> Haddock: Well you know
obviously Chicago's sending in
Derrick Rose's former high
school that featured Jabari
Parker on the third high school
player in history to be featured
in Sports Illustrated.
They're going to be re-matching
number eight ranked Southwind.
So you've got two top ten teams
playing that first game.
Then you're going to have number
one ranked Finley Prep playing
right behind that at 7:00
against Memphis Melrose.
And you've got Whitney Young
who's ranked number four in the
nation playing number 11 ranked
White Station.
That's just the last three games
on the last day.
You know, we've got nine ranked
teams playing, six in the top
ten, six state championships,
six state champions from last
And that's just off the top of
my brain.
>> Gaston: Alright, so how do
you get this gentleman involved?
What do you when you come up and
approach Penny Hardaway to ask
him to be a part of it?
>> Haddock: Well we have a
mutual friend.
And last year I had already kind
of signed on and then we've
really kind of been building
this thing over the past few
And again a mutual friend of us
said-"Hey, you two really should
sit down and talk."
And I said okay.
So we ended up having lunch at
Houstons one day and here we are
ever since.
>> Gaston: Penny, a lot of
people probably approach you to
have your name to something.
Why this?
>> Hardaway: Well first of all,
we have a mutual friend.
And Travis had such an
unbelievable idea because
basketball is Memphis.
And to bring these nationally
ranked teams in to play against
our teams-our local teams-I
wanted that for our kids.
And he wanted it for our kids.
And that's why, you know, we
partnered up.
I loaned my name to this
>> Gaston: Travis, there are
some, as you know, high school
basketball tournaments around
this country.
Some have succeeded.
Some have failed.
Why did you feel so confident
that this was going to be big
and in just a short time has
become one of the best
tournaments in the entire
>> Haddock: Because I don't quit
and I usually don't take no for
an answer.
You know, but really it took
three of four years of just
strictly networking out,
developing relationships around
the country with these teams and
coaches because everybody wants
them to play in their event.
You know, and once you've
established those friendships,
then, you know, you can open the
door to having a big event like
this and then moving on to other
cities, too, and taking these
teams kind of with you.
>> Gaston: Alright, folks who
want to see these games-What do
they need to do?
>> Haddock: Well January 10 and
11 at Dyer County, the game
start at 4:00.
It will be $12 for adults, $10
for students at the door.
>> Gaston: Now prices for the
entire session?
>> Haddock: The Saturday event
because, you know, because we do
have six top ten teams is the
most expensive day.
You know it's going to be 15 for
adults and 10 for students.
>> Gaston: Okay, is there a
website they can go to?
>> Haddock: It's Haddocksports-
>> Gaston: Haddocksports-dot-
Alright, talk about the reaction
when you were dealing with local
teams and some of these terrific
teams that we have, some of
these terrific coaches that you
bringing this tournament.
And we go back to last year when
it was inaugural tournament.
What was the reaction when you
said we're going to bring in
these national powers.
We're going to match them up
with you.
It's going to be a tournament
where they-"Sure, let's see it
when it happens."
What was the reaction like?
>> Haddock: Well you know, they
were like at first, when you
first tell them about it,
everybody's like-"Yeah, I'll
"I'll play."
And then when it's really going
to happen, some people are like
-"You know, remember when I told
you I'd do it?"
>> Gaston: They probably didn't
think you were able to
accomplish it.
>> Haddock: Well you know, I
don't know but your best coaches
in this area will play anybody
because the biggest focus is to
win state championships.
You know, look at Chicago Simeon
up there.
They've won the last three
They could care less what their
national ranking is.
They're so good but they're main
focus is to win state.
And it's really the same concept
So to get your self better, you
really have to go out and play
these national games when the
opportunity arises because, you
know, that's what gets you
And you've noticed the teams
that win state tournaments
usually come out of Memphis and
it's usually the teams that went
out there and played games and
maybe dropped some.
>> Gaston: I would imagine as a
young basketball player in this
community, you're already
playing great teams going
against each other.
But to have a chance to play
some of the best national teams,
you've got to fire up these
young men.
>> Hardaway: Absolutely.
I mean, you want to measure your
talent against the rest of the
And win you're playing the top
teams, what defines the top
teams from the Memphis teams?
How did they get ranked?
So when they come to town, these
kids are like they're going to
prove to us that they're really
number one or they're a top ten
And the talent here thinks that
we can play with anybody in the
So we're like-Okay, bring them
to town.
And we're ready to play.
So the kids are very fired up.
>> Gaston: I said that the young
men but also you've had young
women involved with the women's
tournament as well.
Is that part of this year's
Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest or is
that just the Bragging Rights
tournament when you had the
girls teams?
>> Haddock: Well we do have a
girls game at Dyer County the
first day to kick off the event,
especially for that area.
They really want it.
And we said that's fine.
Knowing that we were doing such
a big broad day in Memphis, we
couldn't do.
We did eight games the last day
last year and it was really
tiring for everybody, including
the teams.
And everybody kind of hung in
there and was a trooper.
But we figure six games was a
great amount.
And we've got such high
nationally ranked teams.
Let's just go with what we see,
you know, there and we thought
that would probably be the best
>> Gaston: Alright, so Thursday
January 10.
Friday, January 11.
Dyer County High School.
Tip off time for the first game
is when?
>> Haddock: 4:00.
>> Gaston: 4:00
And then it culminates on
Saturday, January 12 at White
Station High School.
Action begins when?
>> Haddock: 1:00
>> Gaston: 1:00 on Saturday the
And again, one more time and our
final moment.
I know you want to thank some of
your sponsors because without
that, there probably would not
be Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest.
>> Haddock: Obviously Dave
Slight and Jamie Robinson with
American Residential Services
and John Conway and Greg Siskin.
You know there's a mile of
people and also Penny as well.
You know we have a good core
group around us and we're very
thankful for it.
>> Gaston: Well we are looking
forward to it.
I know it's going to be
It was last year.
It was a great way to start off
this new national high school
I know it's going to be even
bigger and better this year.
And then of course heading out
to Vegas for the first time.
Nothing but the best.
You've done a fantastic job
bringing some of the best high
school basketball in the
Travis, thank you so much-
Penny, I can't reach you here.
I wish I had your reach but
thank you so much.
Absolute pleasure as well.
Thank you both for being with us
on today's program.
And that will do it for this
week's show.
Remember you can see any of our
past shows by simply going to
our website, WKNO-dot-org, and
clicking on KNO Tonite.
And we'll see you next time.