Exclusive Interview: Tim Hardaway On His Career, Legacy, Toughest Opponents, And His Actual Height

Photo Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images

Exclusive Interview: Tim Hardaway On His Career, Legacy, Toughest Opponents, And His Actual Height


NBA legend Tim Hardaway is sitting down with Len Werle of OpenCourt-Basketball, a bottle of water in one hand, a fans’ 90s basketball card in the other, reminiscing about his decorated career. For this now 53-year old University of Texas Hall of Famer, it only seemed like yesterday that his name was called on NBA Draft Night, as he walked up to shake the commissioners’ hand and put on a Golden State Warriors cap. Now, Hardaway has a son playing for the Dallas Mavericks and is passing on his knowledge to the current crop of NBA talent and aspiring generations hoping to put on an NBA jersey one day. 

Taking a sip of water and looking into the distance, Hardaway recalls the first time he knew he belonged in the NBA.


“It was the first day of training camp, Chris Mullin was there, Mitch Richmond was there, Manute Bol was standing there, and Don Nelson said ‘Tim, you’re going to be the starting point guard. Everyone listen to Tim, if you don’t you’re going to have a problem with me.’ That’s when I knew I belonged, that I could run this team”


The five-time All-Star went on to be named in the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and his career continued to blossom from that point on. Hardaway eventually went on to amass over 15,000 points, over 7,000 assists, over 1,400 steals, make a total of 5 All-NBA teams and have his jersey retired by the Miami Heat. All those accolades are highly impressive, but Hardaway went on to say his biggest legacy remains his famous crossover the “UTEP Two Step”. 


“I think my biggest legacy is when I walk into gyms around the world and in the NBA, they’re teaching and learning my move. To have that impact forever to me is a huge legacy.”


The most interesting aspect of speaking to 80s and 90s NBA legends is the way they talk about competition and competiveness when they played the game. Even after they’re done playing, the competitive fire still burns, as Hardaway leans forward rubbing his hands together. Naturally, his fierce battles with Michael Jordan was a hot topic of conversation, but surprisingly, “His Airness” was not the best player he’s has played against.    


“There’s two, Kevin Johnson and Rod Strickland. A lot of people don’t give them homage, them guys could really play, they could really handle the basketball too, they’re going to come right back at you, you better believe that.”


At a time when the likes of Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and other household names all played, his response was both refreshing and surprising.


It wasn’t all serious though, as Werle asked him how tall he really was not what he was listed as. 


“Hahah, I’m 6-foot man, in orthotics I was maybe 6’2”, but I was 6-foot man.”


Hardaway is now determined to help the next generation of players coming through, and will never be too far away from the game he loves.  

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