When a Bad Man is publicly exposed for doing something Bad, the world is often subjected to a defense along the lines of, “Explain to me how I could possibly do something Bad to Woman when my mother is Woman and my wife is Woman and my precious, precious daughter is Woman. See, I am Son. I am Husband. I am Father. You must have not realized this. But now that you do, please absolve me of all guilt, and if you think it’s necessary, perhaps even apologize to me.”
We don’t have to break down why this defense is invalid, obviously. But besides the powerfully shallow thinking at hand , a man identifying as Husband or Father is silly. Every man is a Son. Yes, of course, to their mother, but in a much more emotionally lasting way, they are Son to their Father. They are just a collection of overreactions and misinterpretations to and of their fathers, who are unaware of all of this, because they, too, are men and therefore probably lack peripheral emotional awareness. Men are all trying to celebrate how different they are from their dads, who were awful, or were too successful, or weren’t there, or were aggressively boring, or whatever. Those differences, of course, aren’t notable to anyone else. This is all just insecurity caused by or projected onto fathers in a society that reinforces toxic masculinity, and it helps make a lot of men Bad and uncool. But some handle it quite well, and they just appear to have a good time without hurting anyone.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is the son of Tim Hardaway, one of the more fun point guards to watch play basketball since basketball was invented. He probably had the best crossover in NBA history, which is just a thing that is objectively cool. He was a part of a popular trio on the Golden State Warriors called Run TMC, also cool. He has also said some horrifically awful things, but over the years took actions to educate himself and positively impact people affected by his words, which perhaps should in no way absolve him but might suggest qualities that would lend themselves well to fatherhood.
His son grew up to be six inches taller than him. He’s a way better shooter than his dad. He’s already made more money than him despite being a less valuable player. He’s totally different than him, except for having the same name and following in his footsteps to the NBA. So, fuck you, dad Hardaway.
Hardway Jr. is cool as hell. He’s only good at scoring and he’s bad at everything else. He skip-dribbles when he’s feeling it. He gleefully smiles when he gets an assist because it’s so unnatural to him, and he looks genuinely proud of himself. He’s capable of defense the way I’m capable of fixing my car’s carburetor if you take me through it step-by-step, but I’m honestly going to botch it pretty badly if you don’t hover over me the whole time. The guy’s a walking bucket. He’s surely going to score seven points in the first quarter of the Mavericks’ first playoff game against a team with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley and say, “Call me when you get some good defenders.”
Austin Rivers was almost preordained to be uncool just by virtue of being the son of Doc Rivers. No disrespect to Dell Curry, but Steph probably knew he was better than him when he was, like, 11. Seth Curry is married to Austin’s brother and Doc’s daughter, Callie, which doesn’t really have anything to do with any of this, but I needed a circular way to wrap this paragraph up.
Hardaway Jr. likes to watch HGTV. He wears random NASCAR t-shirts or Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirts. When he was traded to the Mavericks Luka Doncic was 20 years old, and Hardaway Jr. was like, “You’re the best player, right? Cool. I’ll be over here playing wildly inconsistent basketball.” His dad apparently watches every one of his son’s games and went to every game pre-bubble, presumably because he’s proud of his son. But THJ doesn’t seem to be trying to prove anything to his dad. He’s on his own path.
And that’s nice, because he’s not oozing theatrical angst. He’s not railing against haters. He’s not building a myth. You can make it about his dad. I clearly have,but he doesn’t seem to care either way. Men who internally make things about their dads externally make things about themselves. This guy’s just out here watching Property Brothers and getting buckets.
*My dad is actually pretty cool and I have a pretty healthy relationship with him. Why? What did you hear? Did you talk to him?