Unsung Legends Get Their Roses | Manu Ginobili And Tim Hardaway Highlight 2022 HOF Class

(Screenshot/Naismith HOF)

The 2022 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class was enshrined last weekend and headlined by two-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili, and five-time All-NBA, five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway. Ginobili spent his entire career with the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’m not here because I was special,” Ginobili said near the end of the tidy two-hour show. “I’m here because I was part of two of the most important teams … with the Spurs winning four NBA championships and with my Argentinian national team winning [Olympic] gold in 2004.”

Hardaway spent time with five different teams but is most known as a member of the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.

“I identify with both teams,” Hardaway said. “I’ll tell y’all something. I had six great years with the Warriors, six with the Heat. It’s hard for me to differentiate and compare. Had great teammates with the Warriors and great teammates with the Heat. Had Hall of Fame coaches at both places. I can’t choose one over the other.”

Hardaway and Ginobili were joined by Swin Cash, Bob Huggins, Del Harris, Lindsay Whalen, Marianne Stanley, Theresa Shank Grentz and George Karl.

Ginobili was presented by his former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Tim Duncan.

Ginobili was a key member of four championship teams in San Antonio with Duncan and Tony Parker. Two of the Spurs “Big Three” are now in the Hall of Fame, Parker is eligible for induction next year.

The Argentinian national who led his country to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in men’s basketball could’ve pushed to be a starter with the Spurs. But he relished his role as sixth man and was on the floor in the important closing minutes for every game with San Antonio.

In addition to his two All-Star selections, Ginobili also earned two All-NBA honors and was named Sixth Man of the Year in 2008.

Hardaway was joined on stage by teammates Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, all in the Hall of Fame. The trio was known as Run TMC during their days with the Warriors.

“Legendary, baby,” Hardaway said. “We was legendary.”

Known for his crossover dubbed the “U-TEP two-step” while he was an undergraduate, Hardaway became an NBA star with a signature move. In many ways Hardaway’s dribble spawned future generations of elite ball-handlers, including Allen Iverson, Jamal Crawford and Kyrie Irving.

“A lot of people don’t recognize my signature crossover because it comes so fast,” he said. “You got to get low. If you know how to do it and stay low with it, it’s effective every time.”

Hardaway’s teams never experienced the ultimate success of Ginobili’s Spurs. But he did reach the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons. The high-water mark came in 1997 as a member of the Heat where they advanced to the 1997 Eastern Conference finals. Hardaway and the Heat lost to the defending champion Chicago Bulls.


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