Tim Hardaway Turnaround: Becoming an LGBT Youth Advocate

In the months since Tim Hardaway reacted to John Amaechi’s coming out by declaring “I hate gay people,” comments that reverberated through the media and caused him to lose a place at the NBA’s All Star Festivities, the former Heat player has been attending and working with the YES Institute, an advocacy center for LGBT youth.

HardawayAccording to the AP, “The group, founded in 1996, seeks to prevent teen suicides while boosting the self-esteem of children and keeping them free of violence and discrimination.”

When he learned of the institute, Hardaway decided to check it out. Says the former pro: “I was scared out of my … mind. I didn’t know how they were going to act toward me. But you know what? They welcomed me with open arms. That eased a lot of my nervousness.”

Hardaway says he wanted to take steps following the homophobic incident to change himself. He says he has not given interviews for many months because he did not want people to think his work with YES was a “publicity stunt or a quick fix to an image problem.”

Says Hardaway: “I just wanted to go in and get educated, that’s all. Get educated on what I said and why I said those things. I’m working on understanding it now. I’m not really trying to make amends. I’ve been there trying to get help. “I had no idea how much I hurt people. A lot of people.”

Martha Fugate, the director of YES, has praised Hardaway in a press release: “Thanks to his honest albeit misguided reaction, Tim did find his way to YES Institute and the education he got was not just about others, but about himself. Because he is a role model, perhaps other people will also learn — hopefully before bad consequences happen to them.”

A contrite Tim Hardaway now embraced by some in gay community [ap via sports illustrated]

Former NBA Star Tim Hardaway: “I Hate Gay People” [tr]


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    I agree with you, DC. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way…that wasn’t a pun. I haven’t had it the “harda’ way” in two and half years, and I aint proud of it neither.

  2. Sebastian says

    Good for him and good for those who had the patience to show him why he was wrong. Its like I believe, you can help those with a distorted, hateful view of gays is with education and the truth. To just go off and stoop to the level that they many homophobes have, like so many who spewed some pretty vile remarks about him, his race, etc, are as vile as his were, and hateful words serve no one any good.

  3. Wes says

    This is really nice to see. I always find it especially uplifting when someone very anti-gay realizes the error of their ways. It gives hope.

    And I think this seems so much more authentic than Isiah Washington’s half-assed ‘I’m sorry but not really’-type PR efforts.

  4. Zeke says


    THIS is how a person makes a GENUINE turnaround and this is why we should never give up on ANYONE.

    Mr. Hardaway just showed everyone how it’s done. Not grandstanding and ass covering but behind the scenes and volunarily. No one sent him to some bogus, CYA rehab. This was a self motivated and genuine quest to understand where he went wrong and how make it right.

    Love and blessings to you Mr. Hardaway!!

    You are a breath of fresh air. I hope you will be an inspiration to others.


  5. Zeke says

    RYAN, I don’t think your skepticism is unappropriate or unwarranted but I think he deserves our support now rather than waiting a year to give it to him.

    We can always withdraw our support and pile onto him with ridicule later if he proves to be a phoney.

    Maybe I’m a soft touch but I am pretty sure that the is a genuine turn around.

    Just listen to the difference in his words compared to those of some of the other idiots who get busted for their homophobic statements. He REALLY seems to get it.

  6. Oscar says

    Once a gay hater, always a gay hater at heart and the rest is publicity. If the reaction to his homophobic statement would not have been made public, he would not have taken this road. If anybody thinks that this guy and/or Isaac Washington love gays now, you are living in “Never Never Land”. They are as homophobic as always but because they were burned in the forum of public opinion they HAVE to change their public image but only their public image and not their believes. Some people do not like black people but for fear of physical retaliation deal with blacks with a fake smile in their faces, but, they still do not like them one bit. Once you are raised a homophobic, like a lot of “christian, jewish and muslim children of all races are, you will always a homophobe be.

  7. AdamN says

    It’s one thing to be skepitical but what you’re saying Oscar is kind of fucked up and really sad. Of course people can change. Don’t you know anyone in your personal life who overcame thier homophobia after you came out to them? Don’t you think that some of the work of the gay rights movement has changed peoples hearts and minds over the last 40 years? I sure as hell do. Maybe Hardaway had a reality check when he enountered the problems gay kids face.
    I agree with Zeke, right now Hardaway’s reaction seems genuine. It’s pretty inspiring and deserves our support.

  8. rudy says

    Zeke, my brother, You have not shown yourself to be a “soft touch” but a realist who never fails to stand up for your family. I agree with you that Hardaway is showing genuine contrition. He is, indeed, showing “how it is done”.

    I am at least as surprised by this turn of events as anyone in our Towleroad cyberhome. It is precisely because of actions–not merely words–by the seemingly unchageable homophobes that I do not lose faith in someone’s ability to change. I think that Hardaway now gets it; he realizes how hurtful were his words. Would that others took the time to meet gay youth and to seek to understand the reasons behind the significantly higher proportion of members of our families who are at risk of self-destructive behaviour. Hardaway has done incalculable good. I join you Zeke in wishing him blessings.

  9. Cadence says

    Isn’t the YES foundation the organization that was founded by both gay allies and people who believed that homosexuality is a sin, but they felt that it was more important to stop suicides among gay teens than to bash these kids?

    If it is the same group, then I think Hardaways’ efforts to learn are genuine. It doesn’t mean that he will or has to change his stance on homosexuality, it just means that he is learning that gay people are actually human, and that we deserve to be on this planet just like he does.

  10. Zeke says

    CADENCE, it’s the YES Institute, not the YES Foundation.

    After reading through their website I can’t imagine that they are the group that you’re speaking of unless they have changed their focus since their inception.

    This organization seems to be VERY affirming of GLBT youth, rather than begrudgingly working with them to save them from suicide.

    I can’t imagine a group that believed homosexuality is a sin would support the affirming education and ministry efforts that their website promotes.

    This seems like a very gay positive organization.

  11. devilgirl says

    I will be the first to say that everyone, EVERYONE, should be given the chance to change. But I hesitatingly agree with those above that say they’re a mite skeptical. The only thing that makes me think he’s sincere is that he did it on the DL, without the Isaiah Washington “EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME, I’M IN REHAB” deal, like every other celeb does. And the other thing that will do it for me is time. Time has to prove that what he is doing is sincere.
    I hope to God that people like Tim Hardaway realize that his fears and feelings were unfounded, and that he gets some understanding about LGBT folks. But my partner and I find it incredulous that a black man, of all people, would discriminate against another group of people. Has he not studied black history at all? Has he heard of a little thing called ‘slavery’? Tim, I hope you are sincere and you realize that people are just people, underneath our colors and our choice of sexual partners, our jobs and our families and our choices we make. It’s time to live and let live and celebrate our diversities, while realizing that maybe underneath it all, we’re not so different after all.

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