The New Hardaway Wants to Save Gays

Tim Hardaway has learned his lesson about hating gays the hard way

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    I don't really hate you gay people, Hardaway says now.

    Tim Hardaway let it be known that he hates gays and everything about them.

    It's amazing how a couple of years, being shunnned by an NBA franchise and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost endorsement deals can change a retired athlete's perspective on an alternative lifestyle.

    Hardaway's Gay Hate

    Now Hardaway is back, and this time he wants you to know it's OK to be gay.

    The Tim Hardaway Foundation is set to sponsor an event on South Beach with the Trevor's Project aimed at suicide prevention amongst gay and lesbian teens, according to the New Times. There was a time when the former Miami Heat and NBA All-Star would have been on the other side of that equation.

    In 2007, Hardaway lost his local businesses, his association with the Heat and the NBA and pretty much everything else after a rant on a local radio show that would easily win "Homophobic Public Outburst of the Century" award. If such an award existed, it would probably be renamed the "Tim Hardaway" trophy.

    For those who missed it, the sound bite heard 'round the world became a rallying cry for local gays and lesbians about the intolerance that still exists.

    "I hate gay people. I let it be known. I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic," Hardaway said, answering a question about gay players in the NBA. "I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

    Can you say, publicity nightmare? Not even Hardaway's signature UTEP two-step could shake all the protesters and organizations calling for Hardaway's head.

    It took a few years and some tunneling underground, but Hardaway seems to have found some tolerance while burying his head in the sand. Or maybe this is one big, very obvious publicity stunt to get back in the public's good graces.

    The charity benefit will be held at the Halo Lounge from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

    It's unclear if Hardaway will attend or speak, but we don't expect any throwback No. 10 jerseys in the audience.