The Orlando Magic are tired of coming up short in the NBA draft lottery, so this year, they’re bringing a lucky penny. Or at least their version of one.
Magic co-founder Pat Williams told the Orlando Sentinel that he will be bringing a decades-old Lil’ Penny talking doll with him to Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton on Tuesday night in hopes that the team will emerge with the top pick in this summer’s draft.
“We put the finest minds we’ve got on this one, and this is what they came up with,” Williams joked.
The Magic finished the regular season with the fifth-worst record in the league, which means they have the fifth-best chance (8.8%) of getting the No. 1 pick.
Of course, there’s also the chance they could slip as far No. 14, but Lil’ Penny wouldn’t let that happen, would he?
Lil’ Penny — a puppet voiced by comedian Chris Rock — was the loud-mouthed alter ego of then-Magic star Anfernee Hardaway in numerous Nike commercials during the 1990s.
Here’s a sample of his work:
The last time Orlando got the top overall pick was in 2004, the year the organization drafted Dwight Howard.
This is the Magic’s sixth straight year in the lottery. They got the No. 2 pick in 2013 and drafted Victor Oladipo, who had his first All-Star season this year with the Indiana Pacers. The highest pick they’ve received since then was No. 4 in 2014.
They are hoping luck will be on their side this year.
“It’s our version of a lucky penny,” Williams said of the Lil’ Penny doll. “We’ve tried everything in the past: lucky coins, four-leaf clovers, rabbit’s feet, Lucky Charms cereal. We’ve taken everything up there.”