Magic look to Lil' Penny in hopes of winning Tuesday's NBA draft lottery

The NBA draft lottery can shape the fortunes of a franchise, with ping-pong balls determining whether a team lands the cornerstone of a champion or keeps coming back for more.

With such high stakes, the lottery often inspires superstition with teams looking to trinkets and charms to improve their chances of a lucky ball bounce.

The Orlando Magic, a franchise with a history (thought not recent) of good fortune in the lottery, will use a remnant of past lottery wins in hopes of beating the odds at Tuesday’s event.

Magic look to unique good luck charm for NBA draft lottery

Magic senior vice president Pat Williams told the Orlando Sentinel that he is taking an old talking Lil’ Penny doll to Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton to oversee the proceedings. 

“We put the finest minds we’ve got on this one and this is what they came up with,” Williams told the Sentinel. “I’ll keep that very, very, very close. We don’t want anybody running off with that, so I’ll have that in my possession the entire evening. It’s our version of a lucky Penny.”

Penny Hardaway sits next to his alter-ego Lil’ Penny as part of a 90s Nike sneaker campaign.
Penny Hardaway sits next to his alter-ego Lil’ Penny as part of a 90s Nike sneaker campaign.

Lil’ Penny a big part of Magic’s history

The Lil’ Penny doll is remnant of the early 90s Magic teams headlined by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. The Magic drafted O’Neal with the No. 1 pick won in the 1992 lottery and traded for Hardaway using the No. 1 pick won in the 1993 lottery.

While Hardaway was a dynamic, game-changing point guard before knee injuries slowed his career projection, he may be better known for his sneaker campaign and alter-ego puppet voiced by comedian Chris Rock.

The Magic haven’t won the lottery since turning 2004’s No. 1 pick into Dwight Howard. Since then, their lottery picks have consisted of a mixed bag of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Domantas Sabonis and Jonathan Isaac. Oladipo, the best of the bunch, isn’t with the team anymore.

So Williams and the Magic can use all the luck they can get their hands on Tuesday.

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