Former NBA player and 5-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway was one of the best point guards during the 90’s and the creator of the crossover move that is still used as a go-to move for many players in the league today. Hardaway was a legitimate point guard who could drop 20 points and ten assists on any team in the league, but on top of that, he was a fierce competitor who, despite being the smallest player on the court, played big time and wasn’t afraid to challenge bigger guys than him.
Hardaway was also an underrated trash talker who got in another player’s face, and one of the most famous moments of him doing just that happened against none other than Charles Barkley. In an interview for VladTV, Hardaway reflected on his ‘in yo face’ play when he scored a basket and got the foul on Charles Barkley.
According to Hardaway, there was a rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns, and players had their own personal rivalries amongst themselves. Hardaway understood that if his team wants to make it out of the west, they would have to go through Phoenix Suns led by Barkley. Tensions were high even before the game, which was just a preseason game, but it set the tone for everything that would follow.
A lot of people don’t know is that there was a rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. Mitch Richmond against Dan Majerle, Chris Mullin against Tom Chambers, or whoever they had at the three spot, me against KJ. We took an attitude towards each other, and that was just a preseason game. In my second year, we were playing at the University of California, where Kevin Johnson went to school, and I was coming down the middle, and that was just an appropriate time to start talking smack because we were talking smack in the papers leading up to that. That just took us into the season, and that was our rivalry when we were playing against the Phoenix Suns.Tim Hardaway, via VladTV
That play from Hardaway picked up a lot of traction from the fans on Youtube because it shows how different the league was back in the day. Players were somewhat allowed to talk trash on the court without getting penalized by the NBA for doing it. At the same time, now things are different, and the refs would probably interfere immediately, and the league no longer tolerates this type of behavior. That clip brings nostalgia among many fans who think the league is no longer tough as it used to be and where any verbal interaction among players is looked down upon.