Two decades have passed since Tim Hardaway last suited up for the Miami Heat. Nevertheless, the master of the UTEP two-step continues to hold down a spot on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore alongside the likes of D-Wade, ‘Zo and King James.
In addition to helping a fledgling Heat organization get its first real taste of success, Hardaway was one of the game’s best floor generals for more than a decade; an incredible feat considering he battled the likes of Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton and Gary Payton.
Despite all he accomplished on the hardwood, though, Hardaway has remained conspicuously absent from the hallowed corridors of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. However, that may soon be changing.
Per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole, Hardaway will finally be receiving his Hall of Fame induction as part of the 2022 class. As reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, he’ll be joined by the likes of Spurs legend Manu Ginobili and longtime NBA coach George Karl.
Hardaway’s HOF Cred Is Undeniable
Hardaway first joined the Heat in 1996, along with Chris Gatling, in a mid-season trade with the Warriors for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles. And while he was already creeping up on his 30th birthday at the time, he continued to be one of the Association’s elite quarterbacks.
Over six seasons with the Heat from ’96 to 2001, the baller averaged 17.3 points, 7.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He also led Miami in win shares on two occasions. As a result, he represented the club in two All-Star Games.
Along with star big Alonzo Mourning and head coach Pat Riley, Hardaway led the Heat to six straight playoff berths, including a run to the East Finals in ’97. Again, it was the first period of sustained success in the club’s history.
Of course, Hardaway’s best basketball may have come in the Bay Area, where he was the “T” in “Run-TMC.”
All told, he spent six and a half years with the Dubs from 1989 to ’96, although the ’93-94 was lost to him as a result of a knee injury. During that time, he appeared in three All-Star games and averaged an incredible 19.8 points, 9.3 assists and 1.9 steals per contest.
For his career, Hardaway ranks 12th all-time in assists per game (8.2), 18th in total assists (7,095), 15th in assists percentage (37.9) and 39th in offensive box plus/minus (3.61).
Why Did It Take So Long?
During a 2007 interview, he controversially declared “I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States,” in response to former NBA big man John Amaechi coming out as gay.
Since then, though, Hardaway has apologized and done his best to make amends for his past ignorance. As relayed by NBC 6 South Florida, he was the first person to sign a 2013 petition seeking to legalize gay marriage in the Sunshine State.
He also showed support for former Nets center Jason Collins when he came out.