Before last night, my favorite one-on-one 3 point shootout ever was the Tracy McGrady vs Gilbert Arenas end of the game shootout in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Game. I was lucky enough to see the game in person and was in complete awe at the range T-Mac and Hibachi had as they casually pulled up from near half-court to drain 3 pointers one after another.
Last night in the Rising Stars game, Dion Waiters and Tim Hardaway Jr played the roles of the two former All-Stars and put on one of the best shooting exhibitions and one-on-one duels I’ve ever seen.
Playing in front of his Dad, who was chosen earlier in the day as a Hall of Fame finalist, New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr hit the first 3 pointer with Waiters guarding him. Then another. So Waiters came back with a jumper and the two went back and forth until a deep 3 by Waiters over Hardaway. So Tim came back down and pulled up between the 3 point line and half court and drained a deeper 3.
The crowd knew something special was happening and so did Kevin Durant and James Harden who were celebrating in their red and camo pants on the sidelines.
Waiters then hits a 3. Hardaway with another. Another. Another. Then Waiters, looking a little tired of the one-one-one matchup hits back-to-back 3 pointers. At the end of the can you top this duel, Waiters had 31 points on 10 of 14 shooting and Hardaway had 36 on 12 of 23 shooting.
“We were just trying to do a great job of just getting the fans involved,” Hardaway said. “It was kind of dead in there, and we just wanted to just start something, a little one-on-one battle here and there, and it was great.”
Besides the 7 3-pointers by Hardaway, he also had his share of other highlights including a reverse dunk and 360 layup.
He even did his best impersonation of Knicks’ teammate JR Smith when he pretended to untie Andre Drummond’s shoelaces.
He didn’t actually untie the laces but he did get the last word in after Drummond received a broken MVP award. Hardaway grabbed the mic and said “ESPN Not Top 10.”
After the exhilarating game I felt like Griffin from Men In Black 3 and said this is my new favorite one-on-one shootout memory ever. So what if it didn’t happen in the playoffs or between two major shoe endorsers. It was fun and amazing to watch just like that day when T-Mac and Arenas went at it.