Retired NBA player Tim Hardaway on Wednesday officially endorsed a campaign to legalize gay marriage in Florida.
The 46-year-old Hardaway retired from professional basketball in 2003. He was one of the league's best point guards during his 14-year career.
On Wednesday night, Hardaway was the first to sign a petition seeking to repeal Florida's 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions. If placed on the ballot in 2014 and approved by voters, marriage in Florida would be defined as the "union of two persons."
In 2007, Hardaway described himself as a "homophobe."
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known," he said in a radio interview with Dan LeBatard."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."
He's since apologized for his comments and in 2011 campaigned against an unsuccessful recall effort against three El Paso, Texas politicians who voted in favor of extending health benefits to the domestic partners of gay city employees.
"I opened my eyes and went to counseling," Hardaway said
of his change of heart.
The nascent group Equal Marriage Florida
must collect more than 680,000 valid signatures to get on next year's ballot.
Meanwhile, Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, is looking for plaintiffs for a potential lawsuit challenging the state's ban.
Others states considering similar votes include Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada.