Former NBA star Tim Hardaway says he still ‘cringes’ when he hears ‘I hate gays’ interview 10 years on

Former NBA star Tim Hardaway has said he still feels ashamed over comments he made ten years ago when he proudly declared himself “homophobic”.

Speaking on Dan Le Batard’s radio show ten years ago, Hardaway said: “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.”

But having since made a number of attempts to prove his rehabilitated image, Hardaway spoke to the Washington Post on Thursday.

In the lengthy interview, he says he changed a long time ago, and that he never really felt that way.

He says: “When I said what I said . . . I still cringe at it when I think about it, and [it] still hurts me deep inside that I said something like that because I gave people an opportunity to hurt people.

“It hurts me to this day, what I said, and you know what? It’s going to hurt me for the rest of my life, because I’m not that type of person. I feel bad about it, and I’m always going to feel bad about it,” said Hardaway.

His words all those years ago came as he discussed John Amaechi, a former NBA centre who came out as gay.

Le Batard had asked Hardaway to weigh in on Amaechi’s decision to come out.

But Amaechi responded to the POst story with a single tweet and an animated gif saying: “It’s strange with all that rehabilitation & angst – Tim has never found the time to actually talk to the me. Must have been an oversight.”

But Jason Collins who came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover back in 2013, said he was surprised to hear from Hardaway after he came out.

He said: “I get asked what was the most surprising [call] after making my announcement… and, yes, getting the call from the president and Oprah and all of that was surprising. But getting a call from Tim Hardaway is right up there, because I didn’t know he had changed as a human being, as far as being what happened with his comments when John came out, and now becoming an ally.

“It shows the power of the coming-out story. It shows the power of John Amaechi’s story. Tim obviously said what he said and was met with a lot of criticism and was forced to look at himself in the mirror and has changed a lot. . . . I’m glad I answered the call and heard his words.”

Hardaway, who made waves with the 2007 comments, shortly afterwards began to attempt to right his wrongs.

The former Miami Heat guard in 2007 became an active part of a children’s advocacy group, which caters to the LGBT+ community.