Tim Hardaway Finally Gets into the Basketball Hall of Fame
Six times is the charm for Tim Hardaway. According to a tweet from Shams Charania late this afternoon, the UTEP legend will be elected into the 2022 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hardaway was first named a Hall of Fame finalist in 2013, and again in 2014, 2015, and 2017. After a brief hiatus from the ballot, he reappeared last year and was back as a finalist this year.
After starring with the Miners for Don Haskins, Hardaway was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1989 and he formed the popular Run TMC along with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond. As a rookie, the Chicago native wore number 5 because Manute Bol was already wearing number 10. He was named to the NBA's All-Rookie team. That offseason, Bol left for Philadelphia and Hardaway switched back to his familiar 10. The only other number he wore during his NBA career was 14, which was at the end of his career in 2003 with the Indiana Pacers.
Hardaway made the NBA All Star Game three straight years with the Warriors and he reached 5,000 points and 2,500 assists faster than any player in league history other than Oscar Robertson. However, on October 22nd 1993, he tore a ligament in his left knee during in practice that caused him to miss the entire season. Two and a half years later, the Warriors traded him to Miami along with Chris Gatling for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis.
Hardaway was not the same offensive scoring machine with the Heat that he was earlier in his career with the Warriors. However, Miami played a different style of basketball under Pat Riley than the Warriors with Don Nelson. Hardaway continued to flourish with the Heat and he teamed with Alonso Mourning to make a pair of All Star Games and six different trips to the playoffs. In 1997, he played in the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to the Bulls in five games. Six years after he retired, Hardaway returned to Miami to have his number 10 retired by the franchise.
His 15,373 points and 7,095 assists rank 16th all-time in the history of the NBA. However, a radio interview that Hardaway gave 15 years ago on The Dan LeBatard Show could have been the reason why he had to wait so many years in order to be enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts. In that conversation, he said that he would not want to play with a gay teammate. "I hurt a lot of people’s feelings and it came off the wrong way and it was really bad of me to say that," Hardaway told Hoops Hype in an interview from 2019. In subsequent years, he volunteered with various LGBTQ organizations to offer his support.
Tim Hardaway has always been a huge fan favorite and he won our Greatest UTEP basketball player in the history of the program a few years ago. He joins Nate Tony Archibald as the only other former Miner player who starred in the NBA to make it to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Don Haskins, Nolan Richardson, and the 1966 Texas Western Team have also been inducted into Springfield. Hardaway will be enshrined on Saturday, September 10th.