Hoping to cash in on some decades-old luck and nostalgia, Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams will have a blast from the past in his possession as he keeps a talking Lil’ Penny doll with him during the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night.
“We put the finest minds we’ve got on this one, and this is what they came up with,” Williams joked in comments to the Orlando 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. We’ve tried everything in the past: lucky coins, four-leaf clovers, rabbit’s feet, Lucky Charms cereal. We’ve taken everything up there.”
Lil’ Penny was part of a Nike advertising campaign in the 1990s with former Magic star Anfernee Hardaway, who played for Orlando from 1993 to 1999.
Williams will sit in the room where the pingpong balls are drawn. The Magic will be represented on stage by president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, who will carry his own good-luck charm, though he wouldn’t tell the Sentinel what it was.
The Magic will need a fortunate bounce to move up in the draft, as they have an 8.8 percent chance of receiving the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday’s lottery after finishing with the NBA’s fifth-worst record this season (25-57).
Orlando has defied the odds before, winning the 1993 lottery when the team had a 1.52 percent chance of doing so. The Magic selected Chris Webber with that pick but traded him to the Golden State Warriors on draft night for the No. 3 selection that year and three future first-rounders.
The choice at No. 3 in 1993: Penny Hardaway.