Penny Hardaway won't coach Magic, reportedly hires Hall of Famer Larry Brown as Memphis assistant

·2-min read

Shortly after Anfernee Penny Hardaway announced that he was staying at Memphis on Tuesday, news broke of a prominent hire on his coaching staff. 

The Athletic's Jeff Goodman and Shams Charania reported that Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown will join Hardaway's staff as an assistant coach. 

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Hardaway has coached his hometown Memphis Tigers for the last three seasons. The four-time NBA All-Star interviewed for the Orlando Magic head coach opening and reportedly emerged as a "serious candidate." He played six seasons with the Magic, three of them alongside Shaquille O'Neal as half of one the NBA's highest-profile tandems of the 90s. 

Memphis Tigers head coach Anfernee Penny Hardaway looks on during the American Athletic Conference college basketball game between the SMU Mustangs and the Memphis Tigers on February 25, 2020, at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Anfernee Penny Hardaway will not be the next Orlando Magic head coach. (Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He announced on Instagram Tuesday night that he would love to join the NBA and perhaps the Magic one day. But he's staying in Memphis for now.

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"Today isn't that day," Hardaway said of leaving for the NBA. ... "I'm gonna be here. I don't want you guys to be afraid I'm going anywhere."

News of Brown's hiring broke about an hour later.

It's not clear how far along Hardaway progressed in the Magic coaching search. But the arrival of Brown appears to be a check in the plus column for Hardaway remaining in Memphis. 

PALAVELA, TURIN, ITALY - 2018/11/21: Larry Brown, head coach of Fiat Torino Auxilium, looks on prior to the EuroCup 7Days basketball match between Fiat Torino Auxilium and Unics Kazan. Unics Kazan won 82-72 over Fiat Torino Auxilium. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Larry Brown, seen here coaching in Italy, hasn't been an assistant coach since 1967. (Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Larry Brown's winding road to Memphis bench

Brown, 80, has extensive coaching experience. He joined Dean Smith's coaching staff as an assistant in 1965 after playing at North Carolina. He has since made a multitude of coaching stops, including with UCLA and Kansas, where he won a national championship in 1988. He's also served as head coach of nine different NBA teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons, where he won an NBA title in 2004.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. His most recent job was coaching Italy's Auxilium Pallacanestro Torino in 2018.

Now he's back on the bench in the AAC, his first job as an assistant since working for Smith's staff more than 50 years ago.

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