Get an exclusive look into the lives of the newest NBA players to hit the courts this season. Follow the NBA’s top rookies – Tim Hardaway, Jr. (New York Knicks), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats), C.J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers) and Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Caviliers) – through the 2013-14 season as they make the leap to playing on basketball’s biggest stage.
Name: Tim Hardaway, Jr.
Team: New York Knicks
Height/Weight: 6’6/205 lbs
So much has happened since the last time I checked in, but one of the highlights has got to be filming a show called The Beginnings with the MSG Network. The show is exactly what the title says it is: a look at where a profiled player came from and the chronicle of his road to success.
I watched it for the first time at home on my laptop after a game. It was nice to see it and I thought they did a great job pinpointing my life and trying to hit everything within a 30-minute show. It’s funny because the producers kept asking for childhood photos and videos. You would think I’d have those things. But when I was growing up, my parents weren’t very big on having videos or taking pictures of me playing. They always had faith in me that I would make it professionally. They didn’t want memories. This is a lifestyle that we live, my father (Tim Hardaway, Sr.) and I. We always played basketball with each other. That was our sanctuary to get away from everything. We’d always go to the gym 30-40 minutes before everyone else got there just to get in drill work and play one-on-one just to warm up.
They captured our relationship perfectly when they showed a highlight from 1999 when my dad caught the New York Knicks’ Chris Childs with his famous “killer crossover” and scored in a playoff game at Miami Arena. He pointed to me after the play. I was six years old. In the film, they paused it right when my dad pointed in the stands towards me. Between that play and how they highlighted my close relationship with my younger season, they did a great job.
It took them about two days to film the whole thing. They had everything mapped out. I took them to Miami-Palmetto High School, where I played, and showed them all our trophies and awards, the jerseys that I wore, and the court that I played on. We went over to courts I played on at Suniland Park in Miami and later I introduced them to Ed Downs, the trainer who’s been working with me since my sophomore year in high school–and who I still work with today. I felt like I was reliving everything–all that stuff that I’ve done just to get here in New York, and to see everyone’s faces and how happy they were. It’s just crazy how you don’t realize how many people you’ve touched when you come back. After seeing that, I just felt like what I did was special and I’m going to come back every chance I get just to say hello.
On the court, it’s been up and down. It’s a rollercoaster and all but people have to understand that we’re hitting a speed bump right in the beginning of the season, and the only thing that’s going to get us out of this hole is ourselves. All hands on deck. It’s tough, but all of this is a learning experience. I think it’s great, not just for the veterans but also for myself because I’m learning. I want to be great and play for as long as I can, and I’m definitely finding ways that I can help and that’s great for me.
As told to Christopher Hunt
Editors note: In Hardaway’s last six games, he is averaging 12.8 points per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, including career-high 21 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas Day.
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