Penny Hardaway may have inspired Michael Jordan during Bulls' 72-win season


Penny Hardaway thinks he and the Magic may have owned some real estate in Michael Jordan’s mind during the Bulls’ 72-10 season.

Hardaway joined Colin Cowherd on “The Herd” and said he thought Jordan was “rusty” when he returned to the NBA at the end of the 1995 season. Hardaway and the Magic ended up beating the Bulls that postseason, giving Jordan a little extra fuel heading into their early offseason start.

“(Jordan) was really hurt losing that series to us,” Hardaway said on “The Herd.” “That entire summer we were on his mind, because he felt like we were the new up-and-coming guys that he was going to have to beat.”

“Playing in (the Eastern Conference finals) the following year, he came back with a vengeance. Even though we had injuries, he was a totally, totally different player.”

And it wasn’t just one facet of his game. MJ was back as a complete player again.

“Tougher to guard,” Hardaway said. “And he was so tenacious on defense, because it was more personal.”

On behalf of Bulls fans everywhere, thank you Mr. Hardaway. Without you we may not have witnessed the greatest comeback, and the greatest season in NBA history.

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