... if somebody took me to the TOP of the empire state building ....

See, I told you! Here we are at the All Star Break, going in with a two-game win-streak, sitting at 20-32. 12th pick here we come.

I'm here to talk NBA, kinda. But, I'm not here today to talk about what a bunch of failures the Sonics are (so bad they can't even tank a season correctly). No, I'm here, apparently, to talk about gay people.

Look, as a player, I'm pretty indifferent to Tim Hardaway. He really had no impact on my life - since he never played for the Sonics - except as a sweet assist man to Chris Mullin in the original NBA Jam video game (who himself, at least for me, rarely ever got hot). I know he played the bulk of his career for some highly underachieving Golden State teams before rejuvinating his career down in Miami and clinging to the game too long in a few other cities after that. But, as a person, I think he's an ass and a bigot and an idiot. I also think he's a patsy.

It was inevitable; John Amaechi - a guy whose name sounds vaguely familiar, but who isn't even a household name in his own fucking house - writes this book declaring to the world that he's gay and always has been. And from what people tell me - though I'm hard pressed to recall any evidence with my own eyes - this guy played in the NBA. Even though he's no Michael Jordan - hell, he's not even a Frank Brickowski - this is still important news given that he's the first. He's the first man who played in the NBA to let everyone know that he's homosexual. Granted, he waited until he retired from the game, but at least it's a step; and that still doesn't discount the fact that he's first.

Here's the deal: this doesn't become news until he releases this book. It just doesn't. Everyone knows that there's never been an admittedly gay NBA player, but no one's asking any players about their opinions on homosexuality until this book comes out. Now, this book is out, it's making headlines because he's the first, and now this is a question every reporter, every newscaster, every radio show host is forced to tack on to the ends of their interviews because they want to be relevant, because they want to talk about something besides rebounds, field goal percentage, and Mark Cuban for a change. And because they're looking for their patsy. Tim Hardaway, the fool that he is, kindly obliged.

At first I was a little worried that the patsy might be Ray Allen. In an article in the Tacoma News Tribune published on February 8th, 2007, Allen was quoted as such following a question of why he wouldn't want a gay teammate:

"You donít want to know that there is somebody in your locker room and you are not aware of it. And maybe you had to be careful being where you put yourself in a situation where you might get hit on by a teammate. We are so close and we basically know so much about each other, I wonít say it is deception because each person has their personal life. But it is just one of those things you donít want to have to find out from somebody else and feel like you have been deceived by family because this is a family right here."

First of all, I can't really understand what he's talking about right here, because what he's saying makes no sense. But, if I understand it correctly, he's saying that to be a good NBA teammate, you have to be close with your team; you have to be open and honest. Ergo, hiding your homosexuality makes you a bad teammate. But, he's also concerned about the possibility of being "hit on by a teammate". This is just a rediculous statement because he's perpetuating the notion that all gay people are sex-hungry nymphos who go around grasping for penises every second of every day. Taking sexuality out of the equation, if you simply believe that men have a higher sex drive in general than women, his line of thinking would lead me to believe that all heterosexual men are hitting on women every second of every day. Because that's all they think about, because they're men. Well, like straight guys, gay guys tend to think about things other than who they're going to stick it to from time to time.

Somehow, Allen's comments were met with no discernable reaction from the mainstream press, and Frank Hughes didn't bother to blow it out of proportion, so there you have it. Still, I say it was inevitable, because not every NBA player past or present is as articulate and as charismatic as Ray Allen. They couldn't ALL play Jesus Shuttlesworth in "He Got Game". It was only a matter of time before a fortunate reporter, newscaster, or radio show host found their man, who'd openly profess the words they've been longing to record and distribute for the entire world to hear. Those words:

"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."

Does it matter that Tim Hardaway said it? Of course not. It just matters that a former or present NBA player said it, and that that player was of some significance at the time. So, now it's out there. Now - even though he's since apologized for SAYING what he said, not necessarily making amends for his beliefs ("Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that. That was my mistake.") - he's in a world of shit he won't soon recover from, short of a large dose of what Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, and that black guy from "Grey's Anatomy" had to swallow. Unless Tim Hardaway wants to go through "rehab" or "therapy" or whatever buzz word they're using that really means "Cut A Big Fat Apology Check To GLAAD Or Else Be A Pariah For The Rest Of Your Days", he might as well just get the fuck out of the public sector, live with his family, and marinate in his bullshit value system and his ignorant beliefs. They are going to HOUND him like you would not believe; should be fun watching him back pedal.

Then I thought about it: would it matter if it was a player on the Sonics? Well, I'm thinking I wouldn't mind hating any of these losers right now, so no, it wouldn't matter. I don't have much attachment to Ray Allen or any of these recent fuck ups we've drafted. The only one who comes close is Rashard Lewis, but he's Mr. No Personality, and besides, my favorite Sonics teams were from the mid 90s. So, let's just say that instead of Tim Hardaway, it was Gary Payton who said these things (Payton being, most likely, my favorite NBA player of all time). I imagine, more than anything, an overwhelming feeling of disappointment would come over me. It wouldn't change the fact that he was my favorite player to watch, it wouldn't make me wish that I hadn't rooted for him to do well or the Sonics to do well when he was playing for us. But, it would taint things quite a bit. Instead of being remembered as the point guard in charge of trying to do SOMETHING with Michael Jordan in the 1996 NBA Finals, instead of being The Glove who'd shut you down as well as he'd dominate you off the dribble or in the post, instead of being the better half on the Alley Oop pass to Shawn Kemp so many times in their prime, he'd be all those things AND the bigot who hates gay people. It's not something you want to remember your favorite player for.

But, here's the real rub: would it matter if it was your best friend? Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you and your best friend have never once had a serious discussion on your thoughts of homosexuality. For whatever reason, the topic has never been breathed upon. Then, one day, he makes mention that he hates gay people. It's not something he harps upon, it's not some crusade of his to rid the world of gays, it's not even something that ever has to be spoken between you or in front of you ever again. But, now you know exactly what your best friend is thinking. How would that affect you?

Since I consider myself to be a very open minded guy, progressive and all that, I'd first be disturbed that I'd chosen someone to be such a good friend who turned out to be a homophobe; and surely I'd have to question myself in this matter: What does that say about me that my best friend is a homophobe? Again, this is all hypothetical, because I know my closest friends are not homophobes. Still, I honestly couldn't say that I'd immediately cut that person out of my life. Obviously, I'd let my opinion be known and all that; but there'd be that same taint in my view of my friend. I wouldn't help but wonder what other bigoted views he held; it'd be on my mind if anything remotely gay came up. I think eventually, it might even sour me on the person to the extent that - while I wouldn't openly cut that person out of my life - I'd find myself phasing him out. Not calling as often, not hanging out for as long, not returning calls.

This is different than simply sharing different political beliefs. That, you can debate, you can talk about, and sometimes you can even see why a person votes the way they do. But, I can't see why a person would hate someone for being gay or why they'd want to rid the United States of homosexuality. It's the kind of belief I wouldn't want to be associated with; I just don't think I could be friends with someone who hated a group of people for no good God damned reason.

I just wonder if any of Tim Hardaway's friends feel the same way. And if they do, I wonder if it'll help whatsoever in making him realize how rediculous his argument is.