Amauri Hardy, the older brother of current Dallas Maverick Jaden Hardy, will not give up on his dreams of playing in the NBA. After contributing 16 points in a 131-108 loss to the Austin Spurs on the road, Amauri made time to meet with me after the game.
Brian: The game Thursday night didn’t go how you wanted it to, but is there anything you want to build on after this road loss?
Amauri: We need to stand together as a team now. Dwelling on this loss isn’t going to help. Instead, we must look forward to the next game and opportunity and show that we are better than what we played tonight.
Amauri: Credit to Charles Bassey, a phenomenal player who had 40 points and 15 rebounds. Someone like Charles crashes the bounds, and the Spurs have the size advantage. But this is something going to the game that needs more effort. But, of course, you couldn’t come out with a win tonight.
Brian: What is your greatest accomplishment in basketball?
Amauri: Being able to play the game that I love every day, whether it’s practice or going to the gym. It’s an opportunity that you never want to take the grain. That’s one of my most significant accomplishments, being able to display my talents and being able to meet people through the game of basketball. That’s one of the most extraordinary things I would never take for granted.
Brian: What is your most significant opportunity to improve as a player?
Amauri: Being able to come in and impact the game, whether it be a defense or changing the game with my playmaking ability, or being a leader, being able to run the second group. I’ve been doing a phenomenal job with that. Especially the opportunity I was getting. So I want to improve on that.
Brian: Describe your strategy for handling pressure during a game.
Amauri: It’s not necessary pressure, maybe butterflies more than anything. Before the game, I go through my program routine, praying and just talking to myself about the ups and downs of the game and how things may go.
Brian: How do you practice mental health? Jaden mentioned he’s a big believer in talking to the staff and praying.
Amauri: Trying to be impeccable about putting in the work, not complaining, not taking anything personally, and just looking forward, putting my best foot forward every day. If I focus on those three things, those are things that I can control and try not to focus on within the present moment, which I remain still. I’ve been doing an excellent job with that, significantly when things change with injuries. The last game I didn’t play, this game I played. So you must always be ready and always get high on yourself.
Brian: What is one important lesson you’ve learned from your time as a professional athlete?
Amauri: You must stay prepared mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. There will be happy moments; I don’t want to quit and can’t give in if something doesn’t go my way. Everybody is playing the game, trying to win, and chasing success. So you just got to keep going and keep going. There will be moments when you feel like you’re at the top and are you at the bottom. So, what are you willing to fight for? Everybody in the group is trying to fight for something, whether a promotion or a different job opportunity, just remaining even-keel and putting your best foot forward. That’s all you can do.
Brian: Did you watch wrestling growing up?
Amauri: I haven’t been in the wrestling scene in a while, but I used to do all the finishing moves growing up from Steven Austin, Randy Orton, and Triple-H. Jaden and I used to play Royal Rumble with our friends.
Brian: What was your favorite wrestling video game? I’m still partial To Wrestlemania for the N64.
Amauri: I’ll say WrestleMania on the N64 as well. The Hardy Boys was our favorite tag team.
Brian: So what’s it been like to play with your brother on the same team?
Amauri: It’s been fantastic. Jaden had the opportunity to get called up. It’s been a great experience, something you never take for granted. Being on the same team with him, being able to work out, going through the experience with him on that side, and going through his journey, you never really see it happen as unique is happening between him and me. I started my professional career with Jaden; he began his career with me while I was here with the Texas Legends. So we’ve been intertwined a lot when it comes to basketball.
Brian: What would it be like sharing the court with your brother in a Mavericks uniform?
Amauri: That would be phenomenal. That would be the ultimate dream come true. That would be the ultimate dream come true. If I get the opportunity, I’ll probably be in tears. Right. It’s something that accomplishes my goal of playing in the NBA. Being able to take a court with my brother would be phenomenal.
Brian: What TV shows are you currently watching?
Amauri: BMF and I just started watching Kaleidoscope
Brian: What’s one piece of advice that you want to tell your brother right now?
Amauri: Always believe. Always stay true to your faith. Keep your confidence high. Things are going to happen for you like they always do. Jaden dreamed of playing in the NBA; the dream came true. Jaden dreamed of scoring his first points in the NBA that came true. Your dream of planning in the playoffs will come true. So you have to stick with this everybody wants to get instant gratification. If you believe in delayed gratification, things may come to you when you least expect them, so you must be prepared for the moment. Jaden knows all this. I talk to him every day. He’s been doing a phenomenal job!
Working with family is hard enough. I could only imagine what it would be like to play basketball professionally with my family. After speaking with Jaden and Amauri, they clearly have a great relationship on and off the court.