The Miami Heat have retired the jerseys of Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. All but Hardaway have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — until today.
Tim Hardaway finally gets long-overdue Hall of Fame induction. Better late than never | Opinion https://t.co/iX9dn4K0xF @MiamiHerald @HeraldSports @MiamiHEAT @NBA #Heat #Warriors #NBA #Hardaway #halloffame— Michelle Kaufman (@kaufsports) September 8, 2022
It’s impossible to tell the story of the Miami Heat without mentioning Hardaway. Pat Riley needed both Mourning and Hardaway to anchor a then-fledging franchise. And during his first two full seasons in Miami — he came to the Heat at the Feb. 1996 trade deadline — Hardaway was the best player on the team.
The Heat won 61 games in 1996-97 — their best regular season until a 27-game winning streak powered Miami to a 66-16 record in 2012-13. Hardaway was named to the All-NBA First Team that year. It was the first time a Heat player had been named as one of the top five players.
Miami also reached their first-ever Eastern Conference Finals that playoffs — thanks to an incredible Game 7 from Hardaway. Until Wade came along, Hardaway’s Game 7 against the New York Knicks stood as the best individual performance by a Heat player.
Tim Hardaway powered the @MiamiHEAT to the series-clinching win with a legendary Game 7 performance in the 1997 Eastern Conference Semis! #22HoopClass— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 6, 2022
38 PTS | 5 STL | 7 AST pic.twitter.com/Jq9PFUe9Aw
We know the detractions against Hardaway as he’s failed to make it to the Hall of Fame over the years. He didn’t win a ring, as Mourning did with the Heat in 2006. Injuries prevented him from accumulating more accolades — though his knee injuries also played a role in his trade from the Golden State Warriors to the Heat.
In 2007, Hardaway said on the Dan LeBatard Show that “I hate gay people” and “I am homophobic” after John Amaechi came out as gay. Hardaway didn’t simply publish an apology online and move on. He worked with Florida LGBTQ groups.
If Tim Hardaway is being denied entry into the Basketball Hall of Fame you better remove some guys who were fined for using gay slurs during their career. Tim has disavowed those comments and supports LGBTQ+ rights. Vote this man into the Hall!— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) May 17, 2021
Back in 2020, I put Hardaway fifth on an all-time Heat list. His accomplishments don’t measure up to those of Wade or LeBron James, but he helped turn the Heat from a nondescript, new franchise into a respectable, playoff one. He’s the best point guard in Heat history. And now he’s in the Hall of Fame.