Five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway Sr. spoke to HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy about the changes he’s seen in the NBA since his playing career ended.
Hardaway, who served as an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons from from 2014 to 2018, mentioned a lack of preparation as one of the biggest differences between current players and previous generations.
When asked why today’s players struggle to prepare, and if there are too many distractions these days, Hardaway had a fascinating answer – noting that players even check their phones during halftime.
“Social media is all over the place,” Hardaway said. “The first thing they do when halftime comes, they come in and look at their phone. They’re looking on social media to see what people are saying about them. When the halftime meeting is over, they’re back to looking on social media to see what people are saying. The game is over, they’re back to looking on social media. [Postgame] meeting is over, they’re back to looking on social media. They always want to know what somebody is saying about them.”
This is not a tremendous surprise given the strange history of fake handles (also known as “burner accounts”) from players and executives around the league where they can be more anonymous than their verified personalities. But it is still eye-catching to know that some professional players are monitoring social media so often, even if it’s human instinct at this point.
The Hall of Fame finalist also brings the unique perspective of not only being an NBA star himself but raising his son Tim Hardaway Jr. to make the pros as well.
Additionally, he has the perspective of knowing several of his son’s peers as well as the children of several of his teammates who made the league. Even if he is just speaking to his understanding of players in the NBA, his insight is still a fascinating look into the evolution of the league.
“That’s how the game has changed,” Hardaway said. “A lot of them can’t take constructive criticism. Their own teammate or coach can try to offer constructive criticism and they’re like, “Who are you talking to? [Scoffs]” They’re ready to fight or ready to get in a big argument. They don’t want to accept constructive criticism. These guys didn’t grow up the way we grew up. We grew up hard-nosed. We had to grow up in a different way than the kids had to grow up today. And now with these kids, most of them grew up in a nice environment because [their parents] didn’t want them growing up like they grew up. There are a lot of aspects to it, a lot of variables. Some of these guys did grow up tougher than other guys today, but the ones who did grow up tougher have a different mindset when it comes to how to play and how to approach stuff. The ones [who had it easier growing up] have to work their way into being tougher and playing the game tougher and [succeeding] when nothing is given to them.”
When asked how he kept his son becoming the exact player he described (since he didn’t grow up in a tough environment), Hardaway Sr. credited the time Tim Jr. spent away in Chicago playing AAU for the Mac Irvin Fire. Hardaway Sr. believes this experience made him much tougher and prepared him for the next level.