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The History of the Nike Air Penny 2

It is hard in 2023 to explain to young people who may not have heard of Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway how big of a deal Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was in the 1990s. For a substantial period, he was a superstar in the NBA. The guard played for the Orlando Magic from 1993-1999. Penny was possibly second to Michael Jordan in the superstar pecking order during that 6 year period in the 90s. Penny is one of the few players to receive a line of sneakers from Nike. Learn more about the Nike Air Penny 2 below.

Penny Hardaway


The Nike Air Penny 2 was released in 1996. Penny’s second model is considered by many to be the very best Penny x Nike sneaker. The Air Penny 2 combined Max and Zoom Air technology. It featured the “1 Cent” logo on the side, which is one of the most iconic sneaker logos. The design and performance were equally memorable. It had the best cushioning at the time. Eric Avar designed the Penny 2. He crafted a shoe that worked just as well on the street as it did on the basketball court.

Nike Air Penny 2


The Nike Air Penny 2 was originally released in three colorways. All of the colors were variations of the Orlando Magic color scheme. In the 90s, signature sneakers traditionally stuck close to the player’s teams colors. That isn’t really a priority today, with signature sneakers rarely matching the colors of the player’s team. The Nike Air Penny 2 felt like a true extension of Penny Hardaway the person, and player.

Nike Air Penny 2 ogs

Lil’ Penny

Lil’ Penny, voiced by Chris Rock, would return to star in ads for the Nike Air Penny 2. Lil’ Penny made his debut for the Nike Air Penny 1. The alter ego of Penny continued to grow in popularity. The pint sized puppet is a major reason why the Penny 2 is so well remembered and why it was such a hit in 1996.


The Nike Air Penny 2 still receives retro releases today. It is one of the most iconic shoes from the 1990s. The Nike Air Penny line is one of the best signature lines of all time. The Nike Air Penny 2 is the very best of the Penny series.


- Adam C. Better

lil penny