Tim Hardaway Jr. Makes Father Proud in NBA Finals

NBA – Always in the background, but never too far away, Tim Hardaway Jr.’s father is relishing in his son’s success as he competes in his first NBA Finals with the Mavs.

Hardaway Sr. was seen on the sidelines before Game 1 in Boston, talking to his son, offering advice, and cheering him on. This momentous occasion marks a significant milestone for Tim Hardaway Jr., who is 32 years old.

Reflecting on the journey and savoring the moment, the former point guard, a Hall Of Famer for almost two years and an Olympic champion in 2000 with Team USA, never achieved the same success in his 14-year NBA career (1989-2003).

“Having played on the biggest stage in college and losing to Louisville in the final (with Michigan in 2013), and now being in the NBA Finals. He is where I tried to get to as a college and professional basketball player, and it means a lot to me,” acknowledged Tim Hardaway Sr., his son’s biggest supporter from day one.

Despite his fluctuating role in the playoffs, the Mavs’ forward is also relishing this new chapter in his career after coming close to this dream two years ago when Dallas lost in the conference finals to Golden State, the eventual champions. He was recovering from a foot injury sustained in late January against the Warriors and was unable to help his teammates, who were defeated 4-1.

“As we reached the finals, it was possible for me to come back. But we didn’t go that far. Before each game, I would practice on the court for 30-40 minutes before the players arrived. I was preparing just in case it happened.”

Therefore, Tim Hardaway Jr. approached this final challenge “happy and excited,” with the support of his father as a special advisor to help him prepare and keep in mind that this opportunity sometimes only comes once in a career… sometimes never.

“With my father, we always talk about situations like this in the NBA, where players sometimes don’t have the opportunity to go that far,” he admitted. “So just being able to get there and have these discussions, it’s a great experience and to be able to do it while being healthy, at 100%.”

The reward for years of sacrifices
Contrary to popular belief, Tim Hardaway Sr. did not push his son to follow in his footsteps. It was Tim Hardaway Jr.’s determination, dedication, seriousness, and passion that made him the player he has become. His role took on a different turn when he got closer to the NBA.

“I didn’t push him towards basketball because I played it. It’s a choice, and it’s always his choice that matters. When he started playing as a child, if I had said I saw my son making his way to the NBA, I would have been a damn liar,” added the father. “It’s something that requires hard work, determination. He had to put in the work, spend hours, and go through all the things that I also went through to get there, and that’s what he did. That’s why he’s always prepared and ready (…). He has always been attentive, always ahead, always respectful, and there to play his game and progress from there.”

The result of his years of sacrifice has finally paid off today, with perhaps at the end of this journey, a championship ring as the ultimate accolade. In the meantime, Tim Hardaway Jr. keeps in mind his father’s advice to savor every second.

“Enjoy it, have fun, be aggressive when called upon and be ready, you never know what might happen,” he repeats. “You have played in the playoffs many times before and have been successful on those occasions. So, when the opportunity arises, go for it, make your contribution, have fun, and don’t worry about the rest.”

Whatever happens, one thing is certain, Tim Hardaway Jr. can count on the unwavering support of his father, who will be there for Game 2 tonight. “I’m fully behind him. I watch him, he’s my guy. I’m Team Hardaway,” he declared. “He has worked so hard to get there and find himself in this position. I am very happy for him.”