Tim Hardaway Sr. grew up 'tougher' than his son, but is impressed with Jr.'s maturation at Michigan
Tim Hardaway Sr. has never been bashful about how tough he used to be on his son, Tim Hardaway Jr., a current junior guard at Michigan.
And though the elder Hardaway says he's mellowed on the consistent pressure he places on his son, he says the two are cut from a bit of a different cloth -- in terms of attitude -- and both come from different eras.
"We grew up differently," Hardaway Sr. told Andy Katz on Wednesday's ESPNU program "Katz's Korner." "Kids today grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth because their family and their parents wanted them to have better lives than we grew up with.
"It was kind of tough. I grew up in Chicago around gangs, going to school every day and trying to fight gangs off and trying to find my own identity. ... I was tougher, stronger and my mentality is much different than his. His mentality is just calm and peaceful and not really taking a game over, just letting the game come to you and doing other things around the game."
Hardaway Sr., who starred collegiately at the University of Texas-El Paso, forged a 14-year NBA career for himself, and developed a reputation as a hard-nosed, fierce competitor that was often at his best when his team needed him the most.
He was a scoring guard who could also contribute and defend, and though he says he grew up tougher, he does admit that there's a few things his son does at Michigan that he could never do during his time as a player.
"He does everything for Michigan," Hardaway Sr. said. "I wish I had his height, you can’t teach height. He’s 6-6. I’m only 5-11 -- in gym shoes, I was 6 feet. You can’t teach height. With his height, he’s doing everything, he’s rebounding the ball, he can see the floor a lot better than I could because he’s taller than I am. He can get his jump shot off better. I had to work and do a move to free myself up to get a free jump shot but he doesn’t.
"From his first year in college to his second to his third year in college, he’s seeing the game much more differently and he’s much more confident each year that he has stayed in school. He understands the game and how to play the game and what his team needs form him. His team needs everything form him and he’s doing it."
As far as the pressure Hardaway Jr. -- who is averaging 16.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for the second-ranked Wolverines (17-1, 4-1) -- naturally gets because of his father's success is concerned, the elder Hardaway says it's not as bad as it used to be.
"I used to be on him all the time and I kind of criticized him a lot, because I thought he could do more," he said. "Then one day I just sat back and sat down and looked at the game by myself and really concentrated on the things I wanted to look at, and I saw what he was out there doing and I was totally wrong.
"I told him 'you’re playing the game of basketball the way you’re supposed to play it.' I think (it's better that) the pressure is not really on him as Tim Hardaway’s son.”
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