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Tim Hardaway's Hall of Fame argument

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Despite being snubbed once again for a Hall of Fame place, upon regarding Tim Hardaway's fifteen year career it's obvious that he deserves a spot among basketball's greatest.

Ronald Martinez

As well documented by NBA journalists, Tim Hardaway was not selected to be part of the NBA Hall of Fame last week despite being a two-time finalist. Instead former Miami Heat big-man Alonzo Mourning was enshrined despite the fact that it can be said both Hardaway and Mourning built the franchise together.

That is not a knock to Mourning at all, he rightfully deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame. Regardless, this of course was shocking to many, and leads one to wonder what is stopping the committee from selecting a guard with such a polarizing NBA career. Hardaway should have achieve NBA immortality, his consistent play over many years is a testament to this, however in order to successfully acknowledge my claim it is of utmost importance to analyze Hardaway's basketball career.

As an undersized point guard, Hardaway did not let size stop him in any way. Hardway began gaining recognition during his time under coach Don Haskins (of Glory Road fame) at UTEP because of his signature crossover dribble best known as the UTEP two-step. Hardway led a prolific career at UTEP, leading the Miners to two NCAA tournaments in 1988 and 1999 while also winning the Frances Pomeroy Naismith award. Hardaway averaged a respectable stat line of 11.7 points, 4.5 assists, 2.1 steals, and a 51% field goal percentage. Of course Hardaway (like all college athletes) began to see the floor for significant minutes in his junior year, and finally became a significant force in his senior year. Nevertheless, despite his obvious athleticism his game's amazing translation into the NBA was unexpected by many.

Hardaway was drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors, where he spent seven seasons. Hardaway's NBA career lasted 15 seasons six of which he spent in South Beach and his accolades speak for themselves over his throughout the course of his fifteen seasons.

He made five All-Star appearances, one All-NBA first team, three All-NBA second teams, one All-NBA Third Team as well as having his number raised high in Miami. Also Bill Simmons recognizes him as one of the only players of his era to "Blow out his knee and come back relatively the same".

Hardaway was always a dynamic and exciting player, he was part of the "Run-TMC" trifecta with the Golden State Warriors and his crossover was recognized by many. For a short guard, Hardaway was amazingly athletic and that allowed him to have a huge impact on games. Hardaway was a fan favorite in Golden State, and was known for his stellar passing abilities as well as his fearlessness.

He was never one to shy away from anybody no matter who they were and that resulted in some great moments over his NBA career ("In yo face" directed at Charles Barkley). It's obvious that in his younger years Hardaway's hesitation dribble coupled with explosive play, made him a force to be reckoned with and a fixture in NBA highlight reels.

Hardaway was part of the Warriors until 1995 when he was traded from the Bay Area to South Beach.

Throughout his time in Miami, Hardaway was an extreme force. Coupled with Alonzo Mourning, the two delivered some of Miami’s best seasons in franchise history. Over the course of his six seasons in Miami, Hardaway averaged a more than respectable stat line of 17 points, 8 assists, and 1.2 steals.

He was also one of the many factors that spawned the Heat-Knicks rivalry making it ironic that his son’s home court is Madison Square Garden. Tim Hardaway was the leader on these Heat teams and led them to frequent success over the six-year period including trips to the playoffs almost every year of his starting.

His playing days in Miami invited some of the most exciting match-ups in Heat history, and some of the best teams in franchise history. His flashy play suited the Miami lifestyle, and the fans adored him. Unfortunately as he aged Hardaway dealt with injuries, and ultimately was traded from Miami to Dallas where he played just two seasons.

Hardaway ended his career with the Indiana Pacers, but upon doing so cemented a legacy as one of the NBA’s best point guards. Hardaway was an explosive point guard and in his most effective seasons averaged 18-23 points, 2 steals, and 9 assists per contest. Hardaway also reached 5,000 points and 2,500 assists faster than all other NBA players in history besides Oscar Robertson.

Of course his accolades speak for themselves as well. Hardaway brought success to each team he joined, he was part of the 50-win Warriors squadron, and of course helped turn the Miami Heat into contenders. Hardaway’s ultra-athletic play speaks for itself and the fact that he and Alonzo Mourning did not enter the Hall of Fame simultaneously is disappointing.

Nevertheless, Hardaway is deserving of a Hall of Fame place and his illustrious career demands recognition. Hopefully the selection committee regards his complete career, and the effect he had on the game (especially in Miami) when coming to a final decision in 2015.