1-on-1 With Hardaway Jr: Rising Stars Draft, Expectations, & More

Jonah Ballow


Jonah Ballow:  Tim, this is the first time to catch up with you after you were announced on the Rising Stars roster.  What was your reaction to that?

Tim Hardaway Jr.:  I was very, very excited.  You grow up in high school and college looking at the rookies and sophomores that are in the NBA that you played with or played against when you were in college and in high school and AAU ball, so it’s just great to see that.  And, now that you are being part of it, is even more special.

Ballow:  How close of any eye do you keep on the other rookies in your class?

Hardaway Jr.:  Not much at all.  They’re good ball players, that’s why they are in this situation as I am and we’ll keep in touch here and there on twitter or texting each other if we have a chance to see each other play.  I got some texts from some other rookies and some other rookies got texts from me.  You know, we still try to keep in touch here and there when we see each other.

Ballow:  What about Trey [Burke] he’s on the roster and Grant Hill and Chris Webber are going to be drafting the teams?

Hardaway Jr.:  Hopefully Chris Webber makes the smart decision and doesn’t get all these Michigan fans too upset.  I know a lot of Michigan fans want to see Trey and myself on the same team and it would great to see us two in the backcourt together for one more time.

Ballow:  What about the Shooting Stars?  This is going to be a unique event where father and son are going to team-up together and try to showcase their abilities.  What do you think about you and your dad’s chances? 

Hardaway Jr.:  All I know is me and my dad need to get into the gym ASAP. 

Ballow:  Which one needs more work?

Hardaway Jr.:  He needs a lot more work than I do.  I know Dell Curry and Steph, they don’t have to go in the gym that much because they both are dominant shooters already, so just have to get in the gym and make sure my dad is practicing while he is in Miami and make sure whoever is our third teammate, if we have a third teammate make sure they get in the gym as well.

Ballow:  Through 48 games this season, anything that has stood out so far this season?  Whether it’s something that has surprised you, something on the floor that you weren’t expecting in your rookie campaign?

Hardaway Jr.:  Just the amount of hard work you have to put in each and every day.  You can’t take any plays off, days off like you could do in college.  You know, you could play a certain team and take it easy that day but any team could beat you on any given night.  We’ve seen that playing for the New York Knicks, so it just keeps us on our toes and motivated to go out there and play.

Ballow:  Now, you are almost hitting at a 40 percent clip from 3-point land.  Are you happy with your progress through the 48 games?

Hardaway Jr.:  I’m happy but I think I could do a little bit better on the defensive end.  That’s what is my main focus here on out.  That and getting through the 82-game season, that is one of my goals as well, so my body is holding up pretty good.  I’m just ready for after All-Star break to go in and play ball.

Ballow:  Any memories that standout from All-Star Weekend with your dad or watching as a child?

Hardaway Jr.:  You know, it was tough because I was just young at the time, really never understood it, really never watched him play that much when he was an All-Star.  I was probably two or three years old, probably not even born.  So, I really didn’t understand it but I went after he was playing or if he had appearances here and there and it was a great sight and experience when I was little.

Ballow:  Finally, what are you most excited about All-Star Weekend.  We have the Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest, New Orleans food.  Anything particular you are excited about?

Hardaway Jr.:  I’m excited for the Jam Session.  I want to see that.  I know as a kid growing up, everybody goes to the Jam Session.  I want to see the Celebrity Game, I know Kevin Hart is going to be in it, so it’s going to be funny.  I really want to watch that and I really want to experience everything.  You know, I haven’t been to All-Star Weekend since elementary school, so it will be great, a great experience for me and my family and all the rookies that are going to be there.

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