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Tim Hardaway To Have Jersey Number Retired By Heat, Probably Still Hates Gays

Tim-Hardaway

Tim Hardaway will become only the second player in Miami Heat history to have his jersey number retired, following Alonzo Mourning. The ceremony will take place on October 28th, before the season opener against the New York Knicks.

By no means am I implying that Hardaway doesn’t deserve the honor – he had a distinctive 13-year NBA career, including 6 with the Heat –  it’s just that the news made me flash back to a more simple, innocent time, when I was not yet even a young pup in the Deadspin commentariat (I was still trying to get approved, which I was about a month later – as if anybody cares) and the story about Tim Hardaway hating gays set the comment section on Deadspin afire.

On February 17, 2007, Will published a post about some comments that Tim Hardaway made on the Dan LeBatard show regarding his attitude towards homosexuals called “Tim Hardaway Wants Only Straight Men To See His Penis.” In it was this quote from Hardaway:

“You know, 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.”

As one would expect, those comments did not go over well. Hardaway made a half-hearted apology, saying that there were more important things to worry about than his hate for people who live their lives differently from him.

Then he attempted to clarify his comments in an interview with ESPN’s Scoop Jackson (may he rest in peace – what?), which only made matters worse:

I should have just said that I wouldn’t want to be on the same team with a gay person because I just don’t think it’s right for them to be on a team and the team not know that you are gay. … Nothing happened to me. I just don’t condone [being gay]. When I see gay people holding hands or kissing in the streets, I just don’t think that’s right.

Of course, as things often do, the story eventually began to lose steam as it receded back in to our collective unconcious as other controversial stories about other constroversial athletes took precedent over the Tim Hardaway Saga, but one thing remained: the Tim Hardaway Hates Gays meme.

In fact, it got so bad that our poor, beleaguered former combudsman, Rob Iracane (who does a fantastic job over at Walkoff Walk now), was forced in one of his Comment Ombudsman posts, “The Top Ten Commenting Memes of 2007 That Should Die In 2008” to effectively order a cease and desist on the use of the meme. For what it’s worth, I had some fun with Rob’s post in an NHL Closer (remember them? Ah, memories) I wrote when I was back at Melt Your Face Off, but the fact remained: the meme had run its course and it was time for it to be put to pasture.

But looking back at Will’s original post made me feel a bit nostalgic. Back then, AJ, just a contributor to Deadspin, was absolutely kicking ass and taking names with his Cultural Oddsmaker posts. And look at some of the commenters who once graced the comment section at Deasdspin who have moved on, comment very infrequently, changed handles or have been possibly incarcerated: Metschick, JB* The Hebrew Hammer, Lt. Winslow, Texy, goathair, Holly/Magnolia, Heavy Petting Zoo, Tuffy, badbabu, Bad Barbecue, Denis Lemieux, SatyrIcon, throwbot, Sooze, Sh!tShow, Clare, Tuffy, SA, grungedave, diddly – the list goes on and on and each and every one of them was hilarious.

Shit, Supermike was only on Supermike3 back then!

Ahhh, memories…misty water-colored memories of the way we were.

Heat to retire Hardaway’s No. 10 on Oct. 28 [CBS Sports]
Tim Hardaway Wants Only Straight Men To See His Penis [Deadspin]
Tim Hardway Does Not Have A Hate Boner [Deadspin]
Top Ten Commenting Memes of 2007 That Should Die In 2008 [Deadspin]
“You Gotta Support the Meme” [Deadspin]