Tim Hardaway Sr. is an NBA Hall of Famer, Olympic gold medalist, and a five-time NBA All-Star. On top of that, old-timers dubbed him "Mr. Crossover" for his creation of the modern crossover that we know today. Simply put, his HOF resume ultimately states that he's one of the all-time greats.
Addressing the issue
During his prime, Hardaway was a key figure in the teams he played for regularly, averaging 20 points and 10 assists, showcasing his incredible offensive talent. He was most notably known for being Pat Riley's best court general in the 90s Miami Heat, and of course, who can forget about his role in the then-famous Golden State Warriors' "Run TMC."
Addressing the issue of being tagged as "underrated," Hardaway implied that he is well aware of his legacy and doesn't need any validation. Instead, he wants to leave that conversation to the people who have watched him play.
"You know what, I don't look at it or think about it," Hardaway told HoopsHype about being underrated in 2019. "I let you all look at that and talk about that. The way I look at, I came in and played the way I was supposed to play. I gave my team confidence and put my team in position to win each and every night. I had a lot of fun because I love the game of basketball. That's what I'm all about. I'll let you all say if I'm underrated or overrated or this or that."
Hardaway's list of underrated players
While Hardaway did not confirm nor deny that he's an underrated player, he is sure about one thing—there are a lot of guys in the NBA who are definitely underrated. To name a few, "Tim Bug" mentioned fellow former NBA point guards Rod Strickland and Kevin Johnson.
"I will say that there are a lot of guys who are underrated who don't get talked about enough," he added. "I can name a couple of guys, like Rod Strickland and Kevin Johnson. They were some pioneers who played the game the right way too. They had great handles, got to the rim and made plays for their teams. They are underrated."
Indeed, Hardaway, Johnson, and Strickland all reached their peak in the 90s. But on the other hand, they didn't manage to gain that much popularity.
Hardaway was a force in the backcourt, but guys like John Stockton, Gary Payton, and Jason Kidd were just always ahead of him at the time. Johnson, meanwhile, was an unbelievable player in his prime whose career was cut short by injuries. Johnson was Charles Barkley's co-star in Phoenix, where he stayed for most of his career. As for Strickland, "Hot Rod" often averaged double figures in scoring every season, but for some reason, only a few noticed him back then.
As the years go by, more and more notable NBA players are being labeled as underrated, but we can now get to know some of them thanks to the internet.