Tim Hardaway apologizes for making rape joke during Warriors broadcast: ‘I used a poor choice of words’

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No stranger to controversy, Tim Hardaway again finds himself in hot water, this time for comments made during Monday night’s Warriors broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area. Reunited with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, fellow members of the Warriors’ “Run TMC” backcourt of the late 80s and early 90s, Hardaway put his foot in his mouth, making an ill-advised quip about Spurs center Jakob Poeltl “raping” Steph Curry on a third-quarter foul.

Predictably, Hardaway’s regrettable attempt at humor backfired spectacularly, prompting an apology later in the game, where the recent Hall-of-Famer lamented what he described as a “poor choice of words.”

Hardaway, whose son Tim Jr. plays for the Dallas Mavericks, has led a controversial post-playing career, sullying his reputation with hate speech and prejudice against gays. “I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people,” Hardaway admitted in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard in 2007. “I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States.”

Hardaway showed contrition for those remarks, educating himself through his work with The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization aimed at suicide prevention in the LGBTQ community. Despite his past homophobia, Hardaway returned to the NBA as an assistant coach for the Pistons from 2014-18 and was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Manu Ginobili, George Karl, Bob Huggins and Swin Cash in Springfield’s Class of 2022.

Before Monday night’s game, Hardaway attended a 45-minute production meeting over Zoom but admitted to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews he “barely paid attention.” Even in the absence of on-air training, Hardaway had to have known comparing a hard foul to a heinous crime wouldn’t go over well, inexplicably making light of sexual violence on live television.

Controversy aside, the Warriors would end up winning in relatively stress-free fashion, cruising to a 132-95 win on their home floor, where Golden State has won six of seven to begin the year. Unfortunately, the reigning champs haven’t won anywhere else, remarkably losing all seven of their games away from Chase Center.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Tom Pennington, Getty Images