Tim Hardaway Sr., after 15 long years of waiting, will finally be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the weekend. Hardaway's resumé on the court had long made him deserving, but well-detailed issues off the court served to delay his inevitable enshrinement.
Hardaway, who owns one of the nastiest crossovers in NBA history, is best known for his stints with the Run TMC Golden State Warriors of the early 90s, and his arrival with the Miami Heat, the team he helped usher in a franchise turnaround.
In fact, Hardaway even credits Pat Riley's acquisition of him as the true beginning of the famous Heat Culture, as Hardaway and Hall-of-Fame center Alonzo Mourning combined to transform the Heat into one of the serious title contenders in the late 1990s.
This is why it was such a surprise that Hardaway snubbed Heat cohorts Riley and Mourning as his Hall-of-Fame enshrinement presenters in favor of Isiah Thomas, Mitch Richmond & Chris Mullin, Yolanda Griffith, and Nate “Tiny” Archibald.
Tim Hardaway said that he opted for the other five instead of the Heat duo, as he credits them for playing such a crucial part in Hardaway's formative years both as a player and a person. Hardaway also maintains that his decision should not be seen as a snub towards Riley and Mourning.
“Isiah Thomas, I grew up watching him play, my basketball idol, no question, from the city of Chicago. Nate Archibald, my college assistant coach, came back to his alma mater and coached me [at Texas-El Paso] and helped me understand. Yolanda Griffith, we went to high school together. We graduated in the same class. And I wanted to acknowledge her as being the first, before me, and wanted people to understand that. She was a Hall of Famer before me and she needs to be recognized,” Hardaway told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
In addition, Mullin and Richmond were Hardaway's teammates when he emerged as a bonafide star with the Warriors.
Mourning will be in attendance during the induction ceremony, while Riley's scheduling constraints will prevent him from being in Springfield. Nevertheless, it was a difficult decision that Tim Hardaway had to make, and that if he could thank everyone, he would.
“I’m sorry, everybody can’t be there,” Hardaway said with regret.