During their epic ’30 for 30′ — Penny Hardaway talked at length about knowing when to get Shaquille O’Neal the ball, and giving it to him in his sweet spot.
O’Neal while comparing Hardaway to Kobe Bryant, and other guards from their error, gave Penny the ultimate compliment, saying he was one of the “last point guards who knew how to feed their man big man.”
As far as the comparison between Penny-as-teammate and Kobe, well, it was a different time. “Penny was on the end of the era when guards knew that you had to get it to the big man first,” he says with a smile. “Penny knew that. Now, because of AND1 and all that bullshit, everybody’s going for their own. But in order to win, especially when you got a big guy like me, you gotta get it to ’em and keep his motor running. I’m famous for saying, ‘If you don’t feed the big dog, the yard won’t get guarded.’ So, if you don’t feed me, I’ll let everybody come in this motherfucker and rob us.”
I agree with O’Neal and his assessment that a new wave of me first guys entered the league, but you also have to take into account Hardaway’s special skill set as a passer and distributor.