Tim Hardaway Sr. recounted the first time someone busted his a** in the NBA, and it came at the hands of Phoenix Suns legend, Kevin Johnson.
On the Knuckleheads podcast hosted by former NBA veterans Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Tim Hardaway Sr. got behind the mic and talked about this time in the league. Hardway never played for the Phoenix Suns, but one of the franchise’s icons, Kevin Johnson, came up immediately.
The first question Miles and Richardson always ask their guests is who was the first person, when they got to the NBA, to bust their a**.
Rookies always have that eye-opening moment when they realize how good their new co-workers are, and Tim Hardaway Sr. was no different.
Phoenix Suns legend, Kevin Johnson, gave Tim Hardaway a rude NBA welcome.
For him, the first person to bust his a** was Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns. Hardway said:
“The first person to bust my a**? Kevin Johnson! Oh, Lord. I couldn’t sleep that night after the game. He definitely gave it to me. It was a preseason game…you gotta show rooks when they come in how it’s going to be all season long until you get where you need to get to. I’m going to give it to you every game and that’s how it’s going to be. [Kevin Johnson] gave it to me that game.”
Even though Hardway remembered it as a preseason game, I think it was actually the first regular-season game in 1989. The Golden State Warriors played the Phoenix Suns and in that contest, the rookie Hardaway had zero points on 0-7 shooting in 23 minutes of play.
Kevin Johnson, on the other hand, filled up the box score with 18 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. The Suns would go on to win the game by 30.
Hardaway went on to say how he couldn’t wait until they played Phoenix again so he could get another crack at Kevin Johnson. The motivation must have worked because in their next matchup, Hardway put up 20 points, dished out eight assists, and nabbed three steals.
For what it’s worth, Kevin Johnson had 18 points and 16 assists in that game and the Suns won by 21.
Listen to Hardway recount it yourself below. It is the very first topic they discuss.