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How Tim Hardaway Transformed Into An LGBT Advocate

Back in 2007, NBA point guard Tim Hardaway told a radio host that he hated gay people and even proudly declared himself "homophobic." Six years have since passed and in a newly published featured piece longtime sports columnist Monte Poole highlights how the now retired player has gone from homophobe to advocate for LGBT youth.

Hardaway claims he doesn't want recognition for his newfound work:

6a00d8341c730253ef0191041574f7970cHe regrets the words he uttered six years ago and has since taken action. He attended classes at Miami's YES Institute, which seeks to create a healthy sexual and gender environment for youth. He assists the fundraising efforts of several groups, including the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth

And when Equal Marriage Florida in June launched a petition to amend the definition of marriage as described in the state constitution, Hardaway stepped forward as the first person to offer his signature. Hardaway, 46, said he wants nothing in return for his support. No political points. No publicity. No hugs or handshakes. He said he was comfortable discussing the issue because he has known me since 1989, when he was drafted by the Warriors. "I don't do this for publicity; I normally turn down interviews about this,'' he said. "But I know you. That's why I'm talking to you about it. I do this because I want to do it. I don't tell people that I'm going to talk to people about gay rights.

He talks about the guilt he faced after realizing how his anti-gay remarks affected the LGBT community:

"With what I said, people could think it's OK to throw rocks at them or bully them,'' Hardaway said. "I just wanted to make people understand that what I said wasn't cool. I wanted to make amends for it.' Whereas Hardaway's radio comments were the result of being, in a sense, back on the court, where he was utterly fearless and often led with considerable swagger and ego. He was being macho, responding as macho guys are "expected'' to respond. He now responds from an informed point of view.

"Once I started reading about what was happening with these people -- kids getting beat up, bullied and committing suicide -- I realized I made it OK for people to keep ridiculing them,'' he said. "And I felt bad about it.'' Hardaway's passion comes through the phone from Florida, his tone exuding the conviction of the truly enlightened believer. "I'm not a bully,'' he said. "I don't want anybody to hurt anybody. I don't want anybody to get hurt. I don't want anybody to kill themselves. Life is too precious. And I realize I had made it worse.''

Hardway's come a long way since he first made those anti-gay remarks six years ago. The full piece is well worth a read.

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Comments

  1. An amazing journey. I wish he could be a role-model for homophobes to reinvent themselves. I doubt it will happen -- but I wish...

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jul 27, 2013 2:05:05 PM


  2. Now *that* is a man. Thank you for being a straight ally, Mr. Hardaway!

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 27, 2013 2:14:31 PM


  3. Good for him! He saw the light!!

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 27, 2013 2:18:29 PM


  4. well met!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 27, 2013 2:23:53 PM


  5. A mind open to change is always refreshing.
    Go Tim!

    Posted by: David From Canada | Jul 27, 2013 2:46:04 PM


  6. Now this is a genuine apology and he even went the extra mile to actually make a positive change.

    Posted by: Derrick | Jul 27, 2013 3:39:00 PM


  7. Really? So little comments....?

    Lol,white gay men....

    AWESOME for Hardaway.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 27, 2013 4:31:33 PM


  8. Good guy.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jul 27, 2013 6:09:02 PM


  9. Humblebrag, right?

    But I still respect someone who wakes up to what they are doing, and makes a change for the better.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 27, 2013 6:13:39 PM


  10. This is all we can hope for. Hardaway ignorantly uttered some nasty comments. When he was called out for it, he took the time to educate himself and make amends. He did not simply say, "Oops, sorry." He became a force for positive change. Good for Tim.

    Posted by: shawnthesheep | Jul 27, 2013 6:55:22 PM


  11. I remember how utterly appalled I felt -- duly, fairly, and deservedly appalled -- at his comments in 2007. (It was 2007, not 1987!) But now he's an object lesson in how to learn, and how to make amends.

    Posted by: new fan | Jul 27, 2013 7:00:10 PM


  12. @rowan. lol, race baiters

    Posted by: gomez | Jul 27, 2013 8:20:10 PM


  13. My eyes got watery reading about this dude's transformative journey

    Posted by: dumbnhung | Jul 28, 2013 12:08:57 AM


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