When asking fans about Tim Hardaway, first thoughts are usually about his tremendous play on the court. Either an amazing assist or teardrop runner in the lane, Tim dazzled fans across the country with his NBA All-Star play. These days, Tim dazzles people in a different way—by giving back through his foundation.’
Recently, Alexis O’Shea from the Back Sports Page spoke to Tim about how important his foundation was to him and the city of Miami. Tim goes into detail on how important it was to give back and to share with kids the tough lessons he has learned.
The Tim Hardaway Foundation mission statement is very interesting: “Helping our urban families crossover to a quality life.”
Tim expanded on this for the Back Sports Page stating, “Well, I always like to give back. A lot of people have given back to me when I was younger, playing basketball with me, and doing whatever else to keep us off the streets. My mission is to make these kids understand you have a friend, we love you—they need attention in life, they need somebody to care for them other than their parents. They try listening to the same old stuff from their parents and they always want to listen to somebody else and sometimes that helps them out with life. I love helping kids out and talking to kids, I love trying to teach them the way of life and how to go to school, get an education. You can be a painter, lawyer, sports person—whatever you do in life will be hard, but I just don’t want them to be out in the streets and doing what’s wrong in life because that’s not the way you’re supposed to live.”
When asked about any specific inspirational person throughout his life, Hardaway had several answers.
“I had lots of people—my grammar school coach, high school coach, high school teachers—when I played basketball, my teachers told me my head was getting too big and they brought me back down to earth and kept me focused on what’s real in life. I’m still a regular guy who had to go to school, get my education, and treat people with respect, and that was very much instilled in me. I always tell my kids, you have to treat everyone with respect just like you want to be treated by them with respect.”
Hardaway also has been a big part of the Haiti relief, having been down there since day one when the hurricanes struck about two years ago. Their original intention was unrelated to the hurricanes, though.
“We went down there to build a village and build a hospital down there and that’s what our fundraiser was for. But now, after the earthquake, it escalated to something even bigger and everyone down there is hurting now. Our efforts now are to look out for even more folks and increase our fundraiser. This is not a five or 10 year project, it’s a 15-20 year project to get these people back on their feet,” said Hardaway.
The Andy Cup, which Hardaway is also involved in, is also related to help those in Haiti.
“The Andy Cup is about giving back to the community in Haiti—it’s a bunch of doctors I met and they were doing the Andy Cup, and it wasn’t doing so well so I teamed up with them to help them out. This was about a small village being turned into an entire town where people can go back and have homes to go back to.”
Hardaway’s foundation is fairly new, and when asked about growth and plans for the future he responded in length.
“We are very successful right now by doing walking clubs, which gets people of all ages to get out and walk and teach them the importance of good health. Just by getting people down in weight, it allows them to live a lot longer. We do a lot of races, a couple of bike rides so people can bike with their neighbors and kids. Nowadays people don’t interact with one another like we used to, so that’s what I want. I want people to interact with their neighbors to help their neighborhood grow. We help kids out in all phases of life—school tutoring and health. If there is one thing I’ve found out, it’s that I can help out a lot with teen suicide. My voice carries a lot, in a positive way and negative way, but I really want it to carry in a positive way. But I know people look up to me and I want to steer teens in the right direction. Teen suicide is back here in the US, and I just want to get the message out to the kids that you always have someone to talk to.”
Hardaway knows that as a former athlete, his voice means a lot of different things to many different people.
“My voice carries and I do everything. I go out to all the events, I talk to kids and people, and I want to make them understand where the foundation is coming from and find out how we can help in the community, how can we help you as a person, and how can we help these kids become adults and make sure they get their education. I want to make these kids understand [that] we love them and we are going to try and do everything we can for them—and the grown-ups, too. They need help too. Just helping them with jobs and [letting them know that] we are there for them too and that is why I go out and speak to these people. That’s why I don’t take a backseat in this process. I want to be out there doing it myself.”
To learn more and to be a part of the Tim Hardaway Foundation, visit his website atwww.timhardawayfoundation.org.