In early December, Nike Sportswear will dive back into Penny Hardaway's story, releasing a Little Posite One inspired by his puppet companion Lil' Penny and the famous "Hey Penny!" poster from the mid-90s. The tribute is another opportunity for the brand to preserve the legacy of one of its most dynamic pitchmen, whose exposure was ultimately limited due to career-shortening nagging injuries. Hardaway has been out of the spotlight for 10 years, but he continues to be one of the most beloved and influential figures in the basketball sneaker business.
Retailers have confirmed that this make-up is limited to the Little Posite One, meaning those who don't wear gradeschool sizes are out of luck on this drop. However, the gradeschool audience is primarily made up of children who have probably never seen Penny play, much less have some kind of attachment to a 20+ year old poster.
That's not to say that there isn't value in passing Penny's story along to the younger generation. Over the years, Nike's business has dominated the sportswear market largely in part due to its unmatched ability to tell stories through product. Impressionable minds pick up on the significance of those stories through communication with older customers, especially when the athlete (or mascot) isn't an active participant in any current marketing campaigns.
When a younger sneakerhead sees this shoe, he or she will have questions. And being able to spark that curiosity is a victory for Nike Sportswear. But for a pure nostalgia play, the lack of availability for people who are actually invested in the Lil' Penny story is baffling. Sure, this is a tough shoe to sell to adults in mass quantity, but for Foamposite connoisseurs and Penny Hardaway fans, not having a shot at all is a bit of a kick to the gut.
For those who are able to get their feet into GS sized sneakers, the "Hey Penny" Little Posite One will release on Saturday, Dec. 2 for $180 at nike.com and Nike Sportswear retailers.
Nike Little Posite One "Hey Penny"
Release Date: 12/02/17
Style #: 644791-101