Rothstein: Hardaway Jr.'s symbolic gesture

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Les and Kimberly Standiford woke up in their Pinecrest, Fla., home Wednesday morning facing one of their toughest days of every year. April 3 should have been the 22nd birthday of their son, Alexander.

He has been gone three-plus years now after passing away suddenly on Dec. 22, 2009 during his freshman year at Florida State. Yet in Les' email Wednesday morning came an unexpected note.

Alexander, known as Z, or Zander, to his friends and family, loved basketball. Loved playing with his old teammate, Tim Hardaway Jr. They met as middle schoolers in South Florida and continued playing throughout high school.

Zander was a grade older and he and Hardaway Jr. often hung out at the Standiford home close to Palmetto High School. Zander was one of the first to tell Hardaway he would make it big and would reach the professional basketball world.

But Z never got to see it.

All these years and the Standifords never knew how Hardaway kept his old teammate in his memory all the time. Then came the email.

Click here to read the rest of the story from Michael Rothstein.