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Basketball and India

NBA India All-Access: A conversation with Tim Hardaway Sr.

Tim Hardaway Sr.
Tim Hardaway Sr. (Getty Images)

In a partnership with McDonald's, the NBA, in India, is promoting the initiative to #SwitchOffAndPlay.

The aim in the country is to encourage kids to be more active and participate in sports. The NBA wants to push that message forward with this great partnership

NBA legend Tim Hardaway Sr., who is in India to promote the #SwitchOffAndPlay message, took some time to sit down with Yash Matange on behalf of NBA.com, India. The conversation ranges from the former player's MVP picks for this season, to scouting against his son, the importance of fundaments at the grassroot levels for kids and his glory days in the league from the 90's.

Yash Matange: Everybody looks back at "Run TMC" as an era and celebrates. How do you look back at it and are you still in touch with Mitch Richmond or Chris Mullin?

Tim Hardaway Sr.: Yes, I talked to Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. They coach for St. John's University in New York. The Warriors play the same way we used to play.

We never called plays on offense. We just came down, passed the balled, moved and cut. The only time we called plays is on dead balls and free-throws. These guys [2017-18 Warriors] are the same way. We had the exact same personnel and they do shoot more three's but it's the defense that's different. There was no zone and it was more physical back then.

Matange: Compared to seven in Golden State, you spent 5 years in Miami, how do you look back at that experience with Pat Riley? Add to that, the fact that you have your jersey retired there alongside Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning?

Hardaway Sr.: I played tough basketball when I was growing up, so that's what I was used to playing. When I went to Miami, that was my type of basketball too. I could play either way - I could run it up, move and pass the ball or settle it down and grind it.

The franchise would surely put up the jersey's of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. I don't know about Ray [Allen] but I know they going to put these three guys up for sure.

Matange: In your time as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, how humbling was it scouting and scheming against your son [Tim Hardaway Jr.]?

Hardaway Sr.: It was very tough. I was rooting for him but it's nerve-wracking. It's certainly humbling but it's incredibly tough.

Matange: Do you keep in touch with him, give him some advice? How often do you do that?

Hardaway Sr.: All the time. I'm his dad, what do you expect? They [New York Knicks] lost last night or this morning [as per IST] and they lost BIG to the Oklahoma City Thunder. I keep up with the games.

Matange: You've done a clinic in Mumbai and now you are scheduled to do some here in Bengaluru. Can you emphasize how important fundamentals are at the grassroot levels to be successful and reach great heights?

Hardaway Sr.: That's what we are saying right now about the AAU basketball scene in the United States. Fundamentals are vastly missed and we try to encourage them. Learning how to dribble, keep your head up, understand how to pass, understand how to play with your teammates and understanding how to give your teammates confidence.

A lot of kids don't know how to shoot, some don't know how to make layups or shoot free-throws. Some big guys don't know how to box out or post-up. That's what we have to get back to by teaching the kids how to do that.

Matange: There's a tendency to copy Stephen Curry or LeBron James....

Hardaway Sr.: That doesn't work because I can show you but you got to do it. It's all about repetitions and that's how you get better.

Matange: So you think for this the Academy here in India is important?

Hardaway Sr.: Absolutely. It's all about repetitions and fundamentals. The kids got to practice what they are taught. You will only get an hour or two of practice but it's what you do after that or on your off-days.

Before we wrap-up, some quick rapid-fire questions:

Your 2019 NBA Finalists? Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics

The Warriors three-peat? Of course.

Your 2018 MVP pick? That's tough but I'll go with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The best coach you played under? I was fortunate to play under 3 Hall of Famers - Pat Riley, Don Nelson and Don Haskins. So I would choose all three of them.

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