Tim Hardaway changes his views on gays, happy for Jason Collins


tim-hardaway-1After NBA center Jason Collins announced that he was gay in a Sports Illustrated expose a lot of people expressed their support for him. Collins became the first openly homosexual athlete in major American team sports.

Within a few hours, over 40 players tweeted their support for Collins including NBA players Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Love, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, and John Amaechi.

As national media, blogs, and twitter exploded with reaction to Collins, Tim Hardaway’s comments were barely circulated.

The former NBA all-star is in a unique position to aid the cause of Jason Collins and LGBTQ equality, and it is perplexing that the 2013 Hardaway has not received more attention.

Back in 2007 Tim Hardaway famously said: “I hate gay people. So I let it be known”.

Since then, an evolving Hardaway has let it be known that he is a changed man through words and actions.

Hardaway’s reaction to Collins was reported by Palm Beach Post (via ABC affiliate KVIA).

“I’m happy for him. I know he hid it for a long time, but now he doesn’t have to hide it anymore. He is who he is and everybody’s got to accept him for who he is,” Hardaway said.

Hardaway told the Palm Beach Post that what he said in 2007 was terrible.

“…It was bad and I live with it every day. It was like a bully going to beat up people every day. They’re people just like we’re people. Let them live their lives just like we live our lives.”

Hardaway’s support for Collins does not come as a surprise as he has championed LGBTQ rights in recent years.  While referencing UTEP’s racially historic 1966 national championship team Hardaway stunned a crowd back in 2011.

“It’s not right to not let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here. If I know El Paso, like they came together when the 1966 team won a championship and Don Haskins started those five [black] guys, I know the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights,” he said at the time.

Hardaway has worked to transform his own hate, but many have not changed their previous hatred for him.

Now Hardaway is imploring others with bigotry in their hearts to “accept [Jason Collins] for who he is”.

Perhaps that valuable message would be that much clearer if Tim Hardaway was accepted for who he has become.

Currently, Hardaway is Miami Heat’s Community and Corporate Liaison. He played in the NBA from 1989 till 2003.

Hardaway was a 5-time NBA All-Star. In 867 NBA games (770 started), he averaged 17.7 points, 8.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 35.3 minutes per game.

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