Exclusive – Tim Hardaway Says Current NBA Is Soft, Thinks Team USA Will Struggle With FIBA Style Of  Play

Photo Credit: SLAM Magazine

Exclusive – Tim Hardaway Says Current NBA Is Soft, Thinks Team USA Will Struggle With FIBA Style Of  Play

 

Team USA kicked off their FIBA World Cup campaign yesterday with a comfortable victory over the Czech Republic in their opening group game in China. It was a perfect start for Gregg Popovich’s men, who used their time in Melbourne, Australia to warm up for the big tournament. Their preparations included over a week down under, and a shock loss to the Australian National Team which sent waves throughout the global game just before FIBA’s world championships.

In Melbourne, they were accompanied by legendary USA Olympic gold medalist Tim Hardaway during their preparations, as the five time All-Star was on hand to give his advice and share his experience on winning a gold medal for his country, a feat only Harrison Barnes, on this current Team USA roster, has achieved thus far. Hardaway kept to himself whilst practice was running, but always kept a close eye on the squad’s progression and spoke out to players if needed.

The National Team then headed to Sydney for a short stay before their arrival in China, but Hardaway did not join them, as he opted to remain in Melbourne and run a basketball camp for the youth in the North West suburbs of the city. It was a fantastic turnout for the hall of famer, as the aspiring ballers soaked in his knowledge and hung onto his every word of advice. As the camp was coming to an end, Hardaway shared his experience on about his playing days with this kids.

As always, there was some interesting questions thrown his way, and OpenCourt-Basketball wanted to know what he thought of the state of the league today.

“Soft.”

“The era that we played in was hard core, beat up, smack people down, you know rough people up, you had to be strong be intelligent, you had to know how to play the game right, you had to be a student of the game, you had to have a high IQ.

Now, it’s all about athleticism, you know, you can’t push a guy too much or get in his path because that’s a foul, you know I think FIBA Basketball and that’s what I’ve been telling folks while I’ve been down here, FIBA Basketball, the USA is going to have a tough time because these guys don’t play that way in the NBA, they have it soft, they have it light there’s no pushing and shoving there’s no knocking anybody down.

FIBA Basketball is like the old NBA, it’s almost like wrestling every time so once these guys get to that then they’ll understand how to play, because these guys today don’t know how to play physical and don’t have the basketball IQ to know how to play physical because once they start playing physical they’re gonna want to fight and push and shove.”

 

This was no surprise, as Hardaway grew up in a completely different era we see today. Physicality was at a premium, and growing in Chicago, Hardaway had to earn every ounce of respect on the basketball court.

The 1997 All-NBA First Team guard’s thoughts on the current Team USA squad struggling with the FIBA physicality was also intriguing, as the NBA game is regarded as the most physical league in the world generally.

It’s always interesting to hear the old timers views on the league today, which more often than not offers the same sentiments.

Be that as it may, whether you agree or not you can’t help but feel they have some sort of personal bias towards the era they played in.

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