"You know: I hate gay people. I let it be known," Tim Hardaway said some four years ago. It was a shocking comment, and one that has stayed with him in the years since his outburst in response to a question about playing with a gay teammate. Hardaway became the poster boy of homophobia and bigotry in professional sports, drawing criticism from far and wide.
But people can change, grow and learn from there mistakes, including Hardaway. Now, some four years later, he's changed his tune and done a complete 180, reversing course and throwing his support behind equal rights for gays and lesbians in El Paso. His turnaround is almost as surprising as his "I hate gay people" statement was years ago.
Hardaway threw his support behind a group fighting a recall effort intended to remove El Paso mayor John Cook and two others from office. The reason? They supported benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees.
Here's what Hardaway had to say on Thursday.
"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 guys. I know the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights."
It's quite the change of heart and should be applauded.