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So Tim Hardaway Just Happens to Make Nice with Gays the Same Week the Heat Retires His Jersey

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We're no fan of conspiracy theories here at Riptide. We're more than happy to leave that to Glenn Beck and his legion of foaming-at-the-mouth birther teabaggers. (By the way, don't miss out on Glenn's Howard Beale meltdown this week. Pure comedy! In a scary way.)

But Tim Hardaway's timing this week seems just a tad serendipitous, wouldn't you say?

This past Monday, Riptide reported on Hardaway's surprising move to sponsor a SoBe fundraiser for a LGBT teen suicide prevention hotline called the Trevor Project.

Like most observers, we were a bit startled that the man who proclaimed on Dan LeBatard's radio show that he "hates gay people" would show up in person at Halo Lounge to meet the fundraiser's local chairman.

Had Hardaway at last realized the error of his homophobic ways, we wondered? Or was this a last-ditch effort at reversing career suicide?

We were willing to give the former Miami Heat superstar the benefit of the doubt on Monday, because he waited a solid two years before jumping into the LGBT charity game. The Trevor Project's local chairman, David Wylie, told us he "strongly believe[s] he's sincere in this."

Maybe he is. We sure hope so. But Riptide fears that Timmy's true intentions emerged this morning with the Miami Heat's announcement that it will retire his number this season.

What are the chances that Hardaway's camp didn't get a call from Pat

Riley this week, casually suggesting that he build some bridges with the LGBT crowd before today's announcement so perhaps the angry cries from local gay leaders might be quieted a bit?

Look, no one is saying Hardaway's number shouldn't be retired. Along with Zo, he was the heart of some of the best teams this franchise has ever put on the floor. His off-the-court comments -- however hateful and asinine -- shouldn't have anything to do with that decision.

And it's fantastic that he poured some money and attention into the Trevor Project this week. It's a terrific and all-too-necessary charity.

But let's call his Trevor Project sponsorship what it really was: a canny PR maneuver right before a big move back into the NBA limelight.

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