Hardaway learned to give son space

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2011 - 12:01 AM

The All-Star guard realized he was putting a strain on his family by putting his son's play under constant scrutiny.

Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. tried to drive past Wisconsin's Keaton Nankivil on Jan. 5.

Photo: Morry Gash, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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For more than a decade, Tim Hardaway startled NBA defenders with a "killer crossover" that's still being replicated. As one of the NBA's smallest point guards in the 1990s, the five-time All-Star nullified any size disparity with speed and skill.

His son, Tim Hardaway Jr., is a freshman at Michigan averaging 11.1 points per game, second on the team. He's one of three Wolverines players with fathers who played in the NBA.

Sophomore Jordan Dumars is the son of former Detroit Pistons star Joe Dumars. And freshman Jon Horford is the son of former NBAer Tito Horford and the brother of Atlanta Hawks star Al Horford.

Hardaway Jr. has gotten to this point after a difficult period trying to fulfill his father's expectations. As Hardaway Sr. tried to mold his son in his own image, he admittedly became one of the younger Hardaway's worst critics and strained his family's bond.

"It was killing my family. It was killing the relationship between my wife and my kids and I, [me] getting on him, telling him that he wasn't doing things out there on the court that he was supposed to be doing," Hardaway Sr. said this week.

Two years ago, Hardaway said he decided to go back to being Dad.

"One day I just told him, 'You are doing what you're supposed to be doing out there on the basketball court. You are trying, you are playing the game the right way and you're doing what I'm asking you to do,' " he said. "And I left it alone from there. That was two years ago. And I didn't talk to him about basketball after basketball games ever since. I just talk to him in general and tell him 'good game' or if it was a tough game, 'Learn from it, we'll get them next time.' It's very hard ... but in trying to help your son play and help him understand, sometimes, you have to take a back seat and let him learn on his own."

His son said the advice he now receives from his father has helped him adjust to college life.

"We have a great relationship. It was hard at first. He would kind of get on me at times, telling me to do this and to do that on the court if you really want to go to college and play," Hardaway Jr. said. "Once he sat back and watched me play, he realized I was doing everything he has taught me to do and I was trying my hardest."

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