Tim Hardaway inducted into Hall of Fame alongside Run TMC teammates

Warriors Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson allegedly lied to the entire NBA before the 1989 draft, saying that Tim Hardaway’s knees had been shot.

The Warriors ultimately chose Hardaway, known for its “killer crossover,” also known as the “UTEP Two-Step,” taking that year’s No. 14 pick. From there, Run TMC was born.

“Great job, Nellie,” Hardaway said during his inaugural address on Saturday. “I appreciate you.”

After a long wait, Hardaway joined Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin at the height of their sport to complete the Golden State trifecta.

Hardaway tapped Richmond and Mullin, as well as his “first basketball idol,” Isiah Thomas, and his “basketball soulmate” and high school classmate, Yolanda Griffin, to offer him his orange jacket. His fifth host, Nate Archibald, was unable to attend the ceremony on Saturday.

With those four on the podium, Hardaway reflected on his career and thanked the laundry list of family, friends, teammates and coaches who helped him get to this point. Of course, he mentioned former Warriors coach Don Nelson and his Run TMC counterparts, who captivated fans with his exciting up-tempo run-and-gun style.

“We were legendary,” Hardaway said.

Mullin and Richmond took Hardaway under their wing during his first season and taught him how to become a pro. Their guidance played a key role, he said, in making him who he is today.

With Hardaway as its engine, Golden State led the league during the 1989-90 season. The following season, with Run TMC in full swing, the Warriors went 44-35 and scored a first-round playoff that upset the San Antonio Spurs.

While the Run TMC era was short-lived—Nelson traded Richmond for Sacramento at the start of the following season—the trio’s two seasons together left a lasting impression on Golden State fans.

“Run TMC, man, we were ahead of our time,” Hardaway said. “Chris, Mitch, you will always be family to me. We did everything together with the Warriors at that time. I cherish those years, I cherish our friendship.”

Hardaway’s journey to immortality in basketball began on Chicago’s South Side, where he played on the nearby blacktop court. He yelled at his father, Donald, for introducing him to basketball, and thanked his mother for her selflessness.

“She has always sacrificed for her boys,” he said. “She took days off from work and was not paid so she can show me the bus route to take to school. She wanted to make sure I was safe, so I knew where I was going. You did the best job a mother could ever do.”

It was “incredible,” he said, to think that a boy from Chicago’s South Side had come all the way to Springfield, Massachusetts.

Therefore, it seems only fitting that he ended his 10-minute speech with a nod to his hometown.

“This is bigger than Tim Hardaway,” he said. “This for the south side of Chicago.”

Hardaway waited eight years after Richmond’s inauguration before receiving the call to the Hall, and it’s widely believed that his homophobic comments about a 2007 radio show caused the delay.

“Like many enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, my basketball journey was far from smooth and against all odds,” said Hardaway, who apologized profusely for his comments. “My path was filled with obstacles and doubters, but it was also a beautifully paved road full of inspiring men and women who guided, shaped and supported me every step of the way.”

Hardaway was the first member of the 13-person class to speak at Saturday’s ceremony. But before taking the stage, the event took a while to honor the late Bill Russell, who passed away at the end of July at the age of 88.

“None of us is in this room or playing in NBA championships without our life contributions off the field,” said Stephen Curry in the tribute video.

Leave a Comment