Tim Hardaway: "I know basketball"
Tim Hardaway: What do I do in a typical day? Well, I take my son to school and then I drive 45 minutes to practice. And then I practice with my ABA team (the Florida Pit Bulls) from 10 to 1 right now. In the afternoon, I have meetings – business meetings. Meetings with my partners in the car wash – I have a car wash – and other other things I'm involved. Then I pick up my son and take him to his basketball practice. And that's pretty much it.
Do you feel in good shape to play basketball again this season in the ABA?
TH: Yeah, I'm in good shape to play basketball. I'm in basketball shape! I'm in good enough shape to play basketball. Anywhere.
Including the NBA?
TH: Yes, including the NBA.
What was the main reason for you to get involved in a league like the ABA?
TH: I wanted to do something in basketball – NBA or something like that. Being an assistant coach, GM, president, something like that. I felt like getting involved in this was the right thing for me to do. When the owners of the Pit Bulls came to me and said, 'Hey, we want you to run this team', I said, 'Fine'. And I became part owner, GM, president... Coach, just not yet. But right now I'm going to learn a lot of coaching stuff and go from there. This is going to be a learning experience and hopefully it will take me to the next level.
There has not been a lot of stability in the ABA so far. Do you truly think this league has a future?
TH: I do believe that. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be doing this. I believe that if the right people do the right things, we can walk, we can have a future. But if people don't put time into it to make it run in a right way, I don't think your team will work. When your team drops out, you make the ABA look bad. Your team has to be professional, your team has to be accountable. Your team has to understand that coming into the ABA, you have to have your investments right and sponsorships and people ready to give you money so they can back you up. If you have your business stuff together, you are going to make your team run well. If you don't have your business stuff together, you can't participate. And we've turned down a lot of teams because we didn't think they had that stuff right. You have to have your business stuff together in order to make it work. That's the first thing they have to do. And the second thing is you have to have a team. A team that can play. If you can find people out there that can play basketball and want to play basketball, it's exciting. Yes, I do believe that it can work, and I do believe the ABA can stabilize itself and grow to become one of the elite minor leagues and do well.
How do you feel about the way your NBA career ended?
TH: I didn't like how my NBA career ended because I wanted to go out on my own terms. But nobody tried to believe in me, that I could go back and play. I can still play at 39. I'm not trying to get back on a team, but I have tried to stay in shape just in case a team needs a point guard that can play. A championship team. I wouldn't go to any other team.
Are you upset that you didn't get a chance to win a championship or you don't think about that much?
TH: I'm not upset that I didn't get a chance to win in the NBA, I'm just upset I didn't get the chance to end my career in Miami.
Are you bitter towards the Miami Heat?
TH: Right. I believe that I did everything that I could to establish myself here so that I could end my career in Miami, but it just didn't work that way.
Do you blame anybody in special for that?
TH: No. It just didn't happen.
Other than playing, what would be your dream job in the NBA right now?
TH: President, GM... That type of job.
How do you feel about not being offered a job as an assistant or executive in Miami?
TH: I'm not angry about that. Probably they didn't need anybody else in that position because they have guys they respect – and I respect, too. They have Bob McAdoo, Askins, Bimbo Coles... Probably I would have accepted a position like that somewhere else, I don't know. Anyway, my goal is to be a president or a GM on a team. That's what I really want to become.
Former black players usually have it tougher to get those jobs compared to former white players. Do you think there is a racial bias there?
TH: I don't think there is a bias. I don't think there's racial entities involved. Probably it has a lot to do with the fact that many former black players are not fighting to get those jobs, to be the next Joe Dumars or the next Isiah Thomas. Many just wanna coach, coach, coach... But I'm not like that. And I think I have the skills to do those jobs. I'm a great judge of talent. I think I'm very good at that and... I just know basketball.
How is your relationship with Pat Riley right now?
TH: You would have to ask him. To me, it's alright. It's OK.
What do you think about the moves he made this summer?
TH: They got so close to winning a championship.. I've always thought if it's not broke, why fix it? They had chemistry there last year. You have to look at how chemistry develops this year. We knew it was there last year. To me, if it's not broke, why fix it?
So you think they'll have chemistry problems on that team this year...
TH: That's not what I said. What I said is that I don't know. We will see. Hopefully they won't and things work out well with people.
Do you feel Miami is the favorite to win the East?
TH: The people that beat them were the Detroit Pistons. So I think it's the Detroit Pistons right now. They have to beat the Detroit Pistons.
Do you think the Spurs remain the favorites to win it all?
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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