When Hardaway was unleashed upon the NBA as Golden State's first-round pick in 1989, he made his presence felt almost immediately.
Hardaway was the point man for what would become known as Run TMC, a triumvirate of high-octane scorers made up of himself, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond.
He was a blur, flying up and down the court while looking as though he was barely moving. His crossover was ridiculous and as a rookie, he posted excellent numbers to the tune of 14.7 points and 8.7 assists per game as Mullin and Richmond handled the bulk of the scoring load.
But in 1990-1991, the year he made his first of five All-Star teams, he really took off. Hardaway upped his scoring average to 22.9 per game to go with the first of four double-digit assist seasons for his career. The Warriors won 50 games that season only to be dispatched from the playoffs in the Western semis by the Lakers, who would go on to reach the Finals.
Hardaway overcame multiple knee injuries during his five-and-a-half seasons with Golden State, even missing a full season in 1993-1994. But he bounced back from his surgeries to team with Alonzo Mourning and coach Pat Riley to lead the Miami Heat to their first great stretch, a run that included six straight playoff appearances, one all the way to the Eastern finals and a 60-plus win year.
Tim Hardaway was one of the most exciting and versatile players of the last 20-25 years. His career had two almost entirely different incarnations: one as a speedy, flashy, scoring point guard and the other as a wizened, tough, defensively superior floor general.
Watching him today would be a real treat.