On Dec. 16, Tim Hardaway talked about his NBA career, among other things, during an event at Miami’s Downtown Athletic Club, according to BleacherReport.
The event, which marked the launch of Thuzio’s South Florida expansion, offered fans and media members alike the chance to take to the hardwood with Hardaway and Kenny Anderson.
Prior to the climax of the event (a five-on-five basketball game), Hardaway took the time to talk about his days in the league.
Hardaway in particular noted, that Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and Doc Rivers were among those, who helped to fuel his desire to make the sport’s biggest stage, and shape his well-rounded game.
“I’m from Chicago, so I was watching Isiah Thomas and how he played the game,” Hardaway said. “My idol, and who I wanted to play after, was Isiah.”
“My first time playing against Isiah is something that was so meaningful,” Hardaway said. “It was fun; I learned a lot. I was nervous, but it was fun.”
Perhaps due to catching his childhood idol at the tail end of his career, though, Thomas was not the player Hardaway dubbed the toughest guard of his NBA career. That honor was bestowed onto another ’90s point guard legend.
“Kevin Johnson was hard to handle,” he said. “He could get to the rim, lay you up, shoot 12- to 15-footers. He wasn’t shooting any threes really consistently, but he was getting to the basket or shooting 15-foot jump shots on you consistently. He was hard, a tough cover as we called it.”
Of course, with Hardaway logging his service time during what many consider the greatest time of NBA basketball, Johnson wasn’t the only tough matchup he encountered.
Gary Payton, Mark Price and Rod Strickland were just some of the challenging assignments that fell Hardaway’s way.
But a challenging task was something that he relished.
“I enjoyed playing against some guys because they brought out the best in you,” he said. “Because you two were considered [among] the best guards in the NBA.”
Hardaway went on to say that back in his playing days, the media was not on the players of the NBA as much as it is now. This fact, according to Hardaway makes it easier for younger players to put their talent on display.
“Back in the day, and when I say back in the day I’m talking about 10 years ago, there was not that much media coverage,” he said. “So the guys weren’t being shown like they are now. [Current players] are all over the globe.
“We were just in an era where we made things happen in our era, but now everybody’s visible,” he said. “It’s not us being upset; that was just that era and that was just the media.”
Hardaway then spoke about how he played in Golden State with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, and how it changed, when he was traded to Miami Heat.
“I was a point guard that could score, but I got my team involved first. With Run TMC (Hardaway, Mullin and Richmond), I needed to score. With the Miami Heat, I didn’t really need to score all the time,” he said.
“With the Miami Heat, I didn’t really need to score all the time. We had Voshon Lenard, Alonzo Mourning, P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn and some guys coming off the bench,” he added.
“We had a crew, but when it’s winning time, I like to be that guy who makes the decision to put the ball in the basket or to give it to the person that’s open. I’m always a point guard first, but if I need to score, I score.”
Currently, Hardaway is Miami Heat’s Community and Corporate Liaison. He played in the NBA from 1989 till 2003.
Hardaway was a 5-time NBA All-Star. In 867 NBA games (770 started), he averaged 17.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 35.3 minutes per game.
Hardaway also spoke of the current NBA players, naming some of the modern stars, that he likes to watch.
“I’m biased, but I love watching (the Heat) play,” he said. “LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, someone’s going to do something exciting every night.”
“I love watching the L.A. Clippers; they’re exciting, they get up and down,” he said. “I’ve been a Chris Paul fan since I saw him at Wake Forest. (He) controls the tempo for his team.”
“I love watching Derrick Rose play; love how he puts his team in a position to win each and every night,” he said. “I like watching the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry’s playing well. I keep up with it,” he says laughing.
After the interview subsided, Hardaway and Kenny Anderson took to the court to provide fans and media members the chance to share the floor with two of the game’s greats.
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