Former Warrior Tim Hardaway says he isn't the Hall of Fame due to past homophobic comments

Tim Hardaway, a member of the Golden State Warriors’ “Run TMC” trio from the 1990s, believes that a homophobic rant from 2007 is what is preventing him from joining Run TMC teammates Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullen in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Well, you know, the reason I’m not in is because of what I said in 2007 about gay people,” Hardaway recently told HoopsHype. “That’s why I’m not in right now, and I understand it. I hurt a lot of people’s feelings and it came off the wrong way, and it was really bad of me to say that.”

Hardaway played his last NBA season in 2003, but called himself “homophobic” and stated that homosexuality “shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States” during a 2007 radio appearance.

“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,” Hardaway told radio host Dan Le Batard. “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.”

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When asked about potentially playing with a gay teammate, Hardaway said, “First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right. And you know I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room. I wouldn’t even be a part of that.”

Hardaway apologized for his comments later that day, stating, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that.”

Twelve years later, Hardaway still regrets his comments.

“Since then, I’ve turned a wrong into a right,” he told Hoops Hype. “My parents used to always tell me, ‘If you do something wrong, look it in the eye. Don’t back down from it and be scared of it. Go make it right and make people understand that you made a mistake.’ And that’s what I did. I’m trying to do what’s right, supporting gay people and transgender people.”

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Hardaway was a five-time All-Star who averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 assists per game. He has comparable accomplishments to Richmond and Mullen, who were six-time and five-time All-Stars, respectively.

Richmond averaged 21 points per game and won the NBA Finals in 2002 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Mullin averaged 18.2 points per game and had his jersey number (17) retired by the Warriors.

Eric Ting is an SFGATE staff writer. Email him at eric.ting@sfgate.com and follow him on Twitter

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