Timothy Duane (Tim) Hardaway (born September 1, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired American basketball point guard who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and who in his prime was one of the league's best at his position. At 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 m.) tall, he was best known for his crossover dribble (dubbed the UTEP Two-step by TV analysts), a move which he utilized and which seemingly caused a revolution in the NBA, and is still used by several current players, notably Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade. In February 2007, Hardaway caused controversy over a series of homophobic remarks.
After graduating from Carver High School in Chicago, Hardaway attended the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the best college player six feet (1.83 m) tall or under. Hardaway was selected as the 14th pick of the first round, in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
In his rookie season, Hardaway wore jersey number "5", as Manute Bol wore Hardaway's trademark "10." After Bol left the Warriors, Hardaway inherited it. With the Warriors, Hardaway was part of "Run TMC" (a play on the title of the popular rap group Run DMC) which was the high-scoring trio of himself, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin. As part of the Warriors' attack, Hardaway was responsible for leading Run TMC's fast break, displaying his excellent passing and one-on-one skills to complement Richmond's slashing and Mullin's shooting. Hardaway played for the Warriors until the middle of 1995-96 season when he was traded to the Miami Heat along with Chris Gatling in exchange for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles.
In his best seasons, Hardaway averaged 18 to 23 points and 8 to 10 assists per game. He reached 5000 points and 2500 assists faster than any NBA player, except Oscar Robertson. Hardaway has competed in five NBA All-Star Games. He is the Miami Heat's all time leader in assists and together with center Alonzo Mourning led the Heat to some of the franchise's best seasons. Unfortunately, injuries kept Hardaway from performing at the peak of his abilities for almost all of the Heat's playoff runs and missed most of the playoff games.
He was an MVP candidate following the 1996-97 season, making it to the All-NBA First Team after leading the Heat to the best record in franchise history while averaging 20.3 points, 8.6 assists, and being fourth in the league with 203 three-point baskets.
With his skills declining with age, Hardaway was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on August 22, 2001 for a second round draft pick. With Dallas, Hardaway was mainly utilized off the bench, starting only two games out of 54 and averaging almost ten points a game. In the middle of the season he was traded to the Denver Nuggets which sent controversial point guard Nick Van Exel to the Mavericks. With the Nuggets he started all fourteen games he played with them before retiring and becoming a basketball analyst for ESPN. The job did not last long though as on March 27, 2003 Hardaway signed a contract with the Indiana Pacers where in his first game with them, he registered a season-high fourteen points and seven assists in a game against the Chicago Bulls.
He has a wife, Yolanda, and two children, Tim Jr. and Nia. Tim Hardaway currently lives in Miami, Florida. Hardaway was a player/head coach of the Florida Pit Bulls of the ABA in 2006, but the team folded, and no longer exists. Tim Hardaway also co-owns an upscale Handcarwash with partner Cory Mason in Miami.
* Holds record for most assists in Miami Heat franchise history: 1,947 (1996–2001)
On February 14, 2007 Hardaway stated that he is homophobic during a radio interview in Miami discussing the recent coming out of retired basketball player John Amaechi. On the 790 the Ticket radio show, Hardaway was questioned by host Dan Le Batard on how he would deal with a gay teammate. Hardaway said he would ask for the player to be removed from the team; "First of all I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we’re in the locker room. Something has to give, If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room that's upset and can't concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court or whatever, it's going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate."
Le Batard was critical of his remarks, labelling them as homophobic and bigoted. Hardaway responded with, "Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic. It shouldn’t be in the world, in the United States, I don’t like it." Full audio of Hardaway's comments
Later that day in an interview with Miami CBS station WFOR-TV's sports director Jim Berry, Hardaway stood by his earlier comments. He also claimed that many players in the NBA share his belief that homosexuality is wrong, and that he would respond the same way toward a gay family member.
Amaechi spoke on Hardaway's comments to the Miami Herald: "Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far." In a separate interview, Amaechi said, "I don't need Tim's comments to realize there's a problem. People said that I should just shut up and go away — now they have to rethink that. His words pollute the atmosphere. It creates an atmosphere that allows young gays and lesbians to be harassed in school, creates an atmosphere where in 33 states you can lose your job, and where anti-gay and lesbian issues are used for political gain. It's an atmosphere that hurts all of us, not just gay people."
Hardaway later apologized for the remarks during a telephone interview with Fox affiliate WSVN in Miami. "Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that," he said. "That was my mistake."
The NBA responded to Hardaway's comments by removing him from its All-Star weekend activities and other future appearances. Commisioner David Stern released a statement explaining that "It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours."