The retired basketball star who told the world that he “hates gay people” has been suspended from appearing at any National Basketball Association events.

The homophobic remarks by Tim Hardaway have been widely reported in the United States, and follow last week’s decision by another retired player, Brit John Amaechi, to come out of the closet.

NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the hatred Hardaway expressed towards gays means he will no longer be allowed to represent the association.

Hardaway’s comments were made during a radio interview:

“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’m homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States,” he told Sports Talk 790 The Ticket.

He later apologised in a phone call to a TV station in Miama, saying he should not have said what he did.

Amaechi, who last week became the first former or current NBA player to come out, said he admired the homophobe’s honesty:

“It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable.

“But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far,” he told the Miami Herald.

“Something has to give,” Hardaway,40, who retired in 2003, said in his radio interview.

“If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room that’s upset and can’t concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court or whatever, it’s going to be hard for your team-mates to win and accept him as a team-mate.”

An issue that Amaechi, who won a silver medal for England at last year’s Commonwealth Games, will discuss in his biography, Man In The Middle, due out later this month.

The 36-year-old, who is of English and Nigerian parentage, grew up in Stockport.

He moved to the US to play high school basketball and went on to play for professional teams in America, France, Germany, Greece and England.

Amaechi, who is 6′ 10″ tall, currently works as a commentator on NBA games shown on channel Five.

His other main activity is working for the ABC Foundation, which aims to increase participation in physical activity by building affordable, quality facilities and making expert coaches, respected mentors and educators available to all young people.

The charity built its first sports centre in Manchester.