Hardaway, Tim 1966–
Tim Hardaway 1966–
NBA basketball player
Point guard Tim Hardaway was one of the National Basketball Association’s most exciting players for much of the 1990s. It wasn’t that he was a superstar, a household name; other players placed higher in statistical rankings and grabbed headlines with slam dunks and wild antics. Yet in his prime, with the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat, Hardaway had speed and a sheer intensity that made him, quite simply, a thrill to watch. His trademark drive to the basket recalled for Sport magazine a quip in which comedian Bill Cosby marveled at the skills of football running back Gale Sayers: “There oughta be a law against a man splitting himself in two.” Hardaway, whose talents as a team player matched his purely individual skills, reached totals of 5, 000 points and 2, 500 assists faster than any other player in NBA history except for Oscar Robertson.
Timothy Duane Hardaway was born on September 1, 1966, and raised on Chicago’s South Side. His mother, Gwendalyn, a postal worker, was only four feet, eleven inches tall, and Hardaway, at five feet eleven, was small by the standards of the NBA. When Hardaway was six months old, his mother put a toy car in his crib, and his father added a basketball. Hardaway chose the basket ball, and in childhood gained the lifelong nickname Tim Bug for his agility on the court. Hardaway came up on Chicago’s playgrounds, where his father, Donald, had excelled before him.
“Growing up in Chicago, you’re going to be tough,” Hardaway told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You had to fight to get to school. You had to fight to get back home from school.” Yet the violence in Hardaway’s life came as often at home as on the streets. His father, an alcohol addict (who later reformed after his son began to succeed on the court), behaved abusively toward Hardaway and his mother, and Hardaway responded by focusing on his game. “It was always my release,” he told Sports Illustrated. When I was going through stuff with my dad, I could get my frustrations worked out just by playing hard—drills, shooting, playing against people. Just taking it out on them.”
Donald Hardaway made things worse for his son by showing up drunk at games, and Hardaway took out his frustrations on opponents at Chicago’s Carver High
At a Glance…
Born Timothy Duane Hardaway September 1, 1966; son of Donald and Gwendalyn Hardaway; mother a postal worker; married Yolanda; children: Tim Jr., Nia.
Career: Chosen in first round of 1989 draft by Golden State Warriors; played for Warriors, 1989-95; played for Miami Heat, 1996-01; named to U.S. Olympic basketball team, 2000; played for Dallas Mavericks, 2001; traded to Denver Nuggets, 2001.
Selected awards: Named to NBA All-Rookie First Team, 1989-90; All-NBA first team, 1996-97; named to All-NBA second team, 1997-98, 1998-99.
Addresses: Team office —c/o Denver Nuggets, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, CO 80204.
School and at the University of Texas at El Paso, from which Hardaway graduated in 1989 with a criminal justice degree. It was during his college career that Hardaway first developed his trademark move, a between-the-legs dribble-and-drive that was at first dubbed the “UTEP Two-Step.” Hardaway admits that he was inspired to develop the technique by Syracuse University guard Pearl Washington, whom he saw on television. By the time Hardaway reached the pros, he had perfected the move. “It can’t be stopped,” superstar Magic Johnson told Sports Illustrated.” It’s bang, bang, and you’re dead.”
Averaging 22 points per game in his senior year and returning to Chicago every summer to play in offseason leagues against NBA players, Hardaway attracted the attention of NBA scouts. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Golden State Warriors and immediately given a starting slot—a less-than-popular move among some Warriors fans. Their doubts intensified after Hardaway contracted tonsillitis in the days before his Warriors debut and suffered poor outings in his first half-dozen games. “Everybody was booing me, and I was making a lot of turnovers,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I’d go home and not want to show my face.” But he bounced back, averaging 14.9 points per game, winning a place on the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team, and receiving an award from his teammates as the most inspirational Warriors player of the year.
In the 1990-91 season Hardaway hit the level of intensity that would make him an NBA star. Early in the season, in a game against Sacramento, he scored Golden State’s last 13 points, and over and over again he played brilliantly in clutch situations. “He’s made more big plays, taken over more games and led more runs than anybody we have,” then-Warriors coach Don Nelson told Sports Illustrated late in the season. “He won three games this year that we were out of. When the hour is bleakest, he saves the day. I think he’s Mighty Mouse.” Hardaway was named to the Western Conference starting team for the NBA All-Star Game and ended the year with a 22.9 points-per-game average, touching off a string of three seasons when he scored over 20 points per game.
What stopped that run was a bout of knee problems that would trouble Hardaway for the rest of his career. His left knee collapsed during the Warriors’ 1993 training camp, and he missed the entire 1993-94 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The following year, dreaming of returning to his former level, Hardaway was instead taken off the starting squad by new Warriors coach Rick Adelman. Always a dramatic, streaky player, Hardaway struggled and began to feud with the similarly mercurial guard Latrell Sprewell. Midway through the 1995-96 season, Hardaway reacted badly and demanded to new coach Rick Adelman that he be released from his contract. The Warriors obliged, and Hardaway ended up with the Miami Heat for the season’s final 28 games. Warriors general manager Dave Twardzik, as quoted in Sports Illustrated, called Hardaway “the most disruptive person I’ve ever been around.”
Expectations did not run high for Hardaway in Miami, for he had reached the age at which NBA players usually nurse their pensions to come and make way for the next wave of fearless youngsters. But, dropping from 210 to 197 pounds to keep pressure off his knees, Hardaway found his old intensity once again. He returned to the startling lineup, finished strong in 1996, and once again topped 20 points per game in the 1996-97 season. Hardaway led the Heat to the NBA Eastern Conference playoff finals and was named to the All-NBA first team that year. He seemed to enjoy his veteran status, and his game benefited. “Young players will try to do a move on you just to get even with something you did to them,” he observed to Sport. “I’ve been there, done that. But you love to see ‘em try’cause you know what they’re already thinking.”
Hardaway remained with the Heat until the end of the 2000-2001 season, performing consistently throughout; he was named to the All-NBA second team after the 1997-98 season, leading the Heat in assists that year and ranking sixth in the entire league. He played on the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 2000 and became known for charitable endeavors in the later stages of his career; in 1997 he arranged for fifty cancer-stricken children to be flown to San Diego and gave $20 per assist to the American Cancer Society. He has been active in supporting Chicago’s Windy City Youth group.
The sole major hurdle left for Hardaway to surmount at the end of his career was an NBA championship ring, and in his final playing years he angled for a spot on a team that could help him win it. He played 54 games of the 2001-2001 season with the Dallas Mavericks, again becoming discouraged when asked to come off the bench, and in 2002 was traded to the Denver Nuggets. His temper once again flared in the spring of 2002 when he was suspended for two games after throwing a television monitor across the court. At the end of the 2002 season Hardaway, was expected to become a free agent and to seek a deal with a championship-caliber squad. “Time is a great example for our young kids,” Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe told the Rocky Mountain News, “and I love having him around, but I understand that he’s kind of at the twilight of his career and wants to win a championship.”
Denver Post, February 22, 2002, p. D1.
Jet, September 20, 1999, p. 53.
New York Times, August 29, 2000, p. D2.
Rocky Mountain News, March 21, 2002, p. C14.
San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 1989, p. E1; January 20, 1996, p. B1.
Sport, May 1992, p. 44; June 1998, p. 48.
Sports Illustrated, February 11, 1991, p. 52; May 5, 1997, p. 28.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 10, 1989, p. D12.
—James M. Manheim
American basketball player
Although knee injuries, a broken foot, and a salary cap that made signing established veterans difficult seem to have brought Tim Hardaway's NBA career to a premature end, when he was playing he was one of the best point guards in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was shuffled from team to team several times in his career, playing five and a half seasons each for the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat before a series of trades in 2001 and 2002 landed him with his final team, the Denver Nuggets. He was in a Nuggets uniform for a mere fourteen games when he broke his left foot during what appears to have been his last NBA game on March 23, 2002.
Hardaway grew up on the South Side of Chicago, playing schoolyard ball with kids who called him "Bug" because of his small size. (Even today Hardaway, at a broad, muscular six feet, is short for an NBA player.) Wanting to win respect from them helped to propel him into the NBA. As he explained to Jeff Weinstock of Sport magazine, "I just wanted to prove to them that I could…. I wasn't going to be one of the guys who gooff on drugs or drinking or doing some stupid stuff in school where I wouldn't be able to get myself in this position, playing in the NBA."
Basketball has been Hardaway's love for as long as he can remember. As one family story goes, his parents put two toys in his crib for him when he was six months old: a toy car and a basketball. He tossed the car out of the crib and curled up with the basketball, put there by his father.
A shared love for basketball has been one of the few things that have kept Hardaway and his father close over the years. His parents had a rocky relationship, in large part because of his father's struggle with alcoholism, and they divorced when Hardaway was twelve. During those times, "[basketball] was always my release," Hardaway
told Sports Illustrated interviewer S. L. Price in 1997. "When I was going through stuff with my dad, I could get my frustrations worked out just by playing hard."
Hardaway went to college at the University of Texas—El Paso, where as a senior he perfected a crossover dribble maneuver that came to be known as the "UTEP two-step." Then, in 1989 he moved on to the NBA, where his career started out strong. He led the Golden State Warriors, the highest-scoring team in the league, in assists in his rookie season, becoming only the second player in NBA history to do so as a rookie. This feat earned him a unanimous selection to the 1989-90 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He also reached the 5,000 points, 2,500 assists mark faster than any other player but one (Oscar Robertson , a star NBA player of the 1960s and 1970s who is widely regarded as one of the best all-around players of all time), achieving this in a mere 262 games.
However, after the 1991-92 season, the Golden State team began to fall apart. Injuries sidelined several of their star players in the 1992-93 season, including Hard-away, who sat out sixteen games with an injured knee but still finished second in the league in assists. Then, in 1993, disaster struck: Hardaway tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, forcing him to miss the entire 1993-94 NBA season and to forfeit his spot on the 1994 U.S. National Team for the World Championships that year. He came back in 1994, but turmoil in the Warriors lineup and coaching staff, including an ongoing feud between Hardaway and fellow player Latrell Sprewell , as well as continued injury problems, resulted in the team finishing last in the league that season.
Move to Miami
Hardaway, frustrated with the team's losing record and unhappy with coach Rick Adelman, campaigned to be traded. In the middle of the 1995-96 season he was, to the Miami Heat, where he had two twenty-point games in his first week. The following season, Hardaway led the Heat in scoring and in assists, propelling the team to a 61-21 record and the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Chicago Bulls. Hardaway was a solid player on the still-solid team for the next two seasons as well, but by 1999 knee problems were beginning to slow his play. Hardaway also developed issues with the Heat's coach, Pat Riley , and these factors both contributed to Hardaway's being traded to the Dallas Mavericks for the 2001-02 season.
Hardaway did not remain in Dallas long; in February 2002 he was traded to the Denver Nuggets. He was in his fourteenth game in a Nuggets uniform on March 23, 2002, when Seattle Super Sonics player Randy Livingston stepped on his left foot and broke it during the first quarter of the game. This caused Hardaway to miss the remainder of the season. That June, only days before the 2002 draft, the Nuggets decided to buy out last two seasons of Hardaway's contract, worth $7.9 million. Although Hardaway attempted to find a place on another team, tough salary caps made teams more interested in promising, cheaper rookies than in established but more expensive veterans, and he could not find a new playing position by the start of the 2002-2003 season.
After he was unable to find a playing position with an NBA team in time for the 2002-03 season, Hardaway became a basketball analyst for the cable sports network ESPN. He appears on the ESPN Shootaround show, which airs on Friday nights before the featured NBA games. Hardaway is married, and he and his wife Yolanda have two children, Tim Jr. and Nia.
|DAL: Dallas Mavericks; DEN: Denver Nuggets; GSW: Golden State Warriors; MIA: Miami Heat.|
|1966||Born September 1 in Chicago, Illinois|
|1989||Drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA draft|
|1993||Misses 1993-94 NBA season and the 1994 World Championships after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee|
|1995||Misses end of 1994-95 season after injuring his hand|
|1996||Traded to Miami Heat February 22|
|1999||Selected for the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team|
|1999-2000||Misses thirty games during the NBA season after injuries to his right knee and foot|
|2001||Traded to the Dallas Mavericks August 22|
|2002||Traded to the Denver Nuggets February 21|
|2002||Suffers broken foot during a game March 23|
Although Hardaway's career was marred by his frequent, acrimonious disagreements with his coaches and fellow players, he will certainly be remembered for his record-breaking early seasons and for his role in the successes of the Miami Heat in the mid to late 1990s. He may also be remembered for his many charitable activities, which include acting as an anti-drug spokesperson with the Miami Coalition while playing for the Heat, running his own summer camps for children in Chicago, Illinois and El Paso, Texas, and co-founding "The Support Group," which helps disadvantaged children in Chicago with their education.
Awards and Accomplishments
|1989||Named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year|
|1989||Wins Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award for country's best college player under six feet tall|
|1990||Named unanimously to the NBA All-Rookie All-Star Team|
|1990||Receives Jack McMahon award for most inspirational player|
|1992||Named to the All-NBA Second All-Star Team|
|1993||Named to the All-NBA Third All-Star Team|
|1997||Named to the All-NBA First All-Star Team|
|1998||Named to the All-NBA Second All-Star Team|
|1998||Named to the NBA All-Interview Second All-Star Team|
|1999||Named to the All-NBA Second All-Star Team|
|1999||Tournament of the Americas (with USA Basketball's Pre-Olympic Qualifying Team)|
Burns, Marty. "1 Miami Heat." Sports Illustrated (November 1, 1999): 144+.
Howerton, Darryl. "Head Games." Sport (June, 1998): 48-50.
Jackson, Barry. "Hardaway Gets Heated Against Orlando, Might Miss Game Against Miami." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (March 15, 2002): K1654.
McGraw, Mike. "Bulls' Search for Point Guard Continues." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) (September 14, 2002): 5.
"Nuggets Waive Hardaway, Say Hello to Hole at Point Guard." Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO) (June 26, 2002): SP7.
Perkins, Chris. "Not a Natural on TV — Yet." Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL) (November 10, 2002): 11B.
Powell, Shaun. "Hardaway, Laettner Start Anew as Strickland Stews." Sporting News (March 11, 1996): 20.
Price, S. L. "Hot Hand." Sports Illustrated (May 5, 1997): 28-31.
Taylor, Phil. "Tim Hardaway." Sports Illustrated (November 7, 1994): 142.
Winderman, Ira. "Hardaway Gets His Chance to Play on the World Stage." Sporting News (July 19, 1999): 38.
Winderman, Ira. "Tax, Salary Cap Leave Vets Out in Cold." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (October 5, 2002): K6748.
Weinstock, Jeff. "Steppin' Out." Sport (May, 1992): 44-47.
"Golden State Warriors History." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/warriors/history/00401109.html (January 5, 2003).
"Heat History Test." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/heat/history/history.html (January 5, 2003).
"Howard's Late Bucket Lifts Nuggets Past Sonics." CBS SportsLine.com. http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/ce/recap/0,2405,[email protected],00.html (January 2, 2003).
Tim Hardaway Web site. http://www.timhardaway.com (November 28, 2002).
"Tim Hardaway Player Info." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/playerfile/tim_hardaway/index.html (November 28, 2002).
"USA Basketball Bio: Tim Hardaway." USA Basketball http://www.usabasketball.com/biosmen/tim_hardaway_bio.html (November 28, 2002).
Sketch by Julia Bauder