Former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway on Wednesday unleashed what may be the most homophobic series of comments ever uttered publicly by a major pro-sports figure. On Miami's 790 The Ticket, host Dan Le Batard asked Hardaway about the revelation by former NBA player John Amaechi that he is gay.
The Miami Herald carried a transcript of the interview that included this exchange:
Le Batard: "How do you deal with a gay teammate?"
Hardaway: "First of all I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, you know, I would really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think that he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room, and it's just a whole lot of other things and I wouldn't even be a part of that. But stuff like that is going on and there's a lot of other people I hear that are like that and still in the closet and don't want to come out of the closet, but you know I just leave that alone."
Later in the interview:
Le Batard: "You know what you are saying there is flatly homophobic? It's bigotry?"
Hardaway: "Well, you know I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States. So yeah, I don't like it.''
These comments are the complete antithesis of the tenor of most of the comments by present and former NBA personalities who have overwhelmingly been positive about Amaechi's declaration that he is gay.
Hardaway was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1989; He retired while with the Indiana Pacers in 2003. He also played on the gold-medal U.S. Olympic basketball team in 2000. Hardaway is presently the head coach of the American Basketball Association's Florida Pit Bulls.
In the end, Hardaway's comments can be a very good thing for the discussion started last week when it was revealed that Amaechi would announce he is gay. Hardaway's comments were so negative, so hateful, and so vicious that the response from the media and others in sports should be overwhelmingly critical of the former NBA All-Star.