FSJ News Updates,
Australian professional basketball player Isaac Humphries has revealed that he is gay, making him the only openly gay player to play in the top level of basketball.
The 24-year-old, who previously played for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and is now under contract with Melbourne United in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL), said he was speaking out in an effort to make the sport “a place where everyone can strive. to be awesome without fear of backlash just for being who you are”.
Humphries said in his statement to American television CNN that his journey to “liberation” was born out of a struggle with the depths of depression.
“Throughout my career, there was no reality where I could be openly gay while playing basketball,” he said.
“I’ve played everywhere—Kentucky, the NBA, Europe, the Australian national team—and it’s the same: being an athlete at that level is largely about making money, dating girls and being the best basketball player. may be.
“So I got in line, no matter how awkward and weird it made me feel. I just wanted to fit in and not draw attention to myself. There were almost no examples of a male professional basketball player doing anything else, so I was resigned to the fact that my real life would begin when I retired.”
Humphries said his mental state was so bad that he decided in 2020 that “it would hurt less if I took my own life”.
“It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I realized what I hadn’t done.
Midway through the following season, Humphries traveled to Los Angeles to seek treatment for some nagging leg injuries.
It was during this trip that Humphries said his eyes were opened.
“In LA … I was around the most successful people in the world – everyone from musicians, TV and film producers, media personalities, A-list celebrities – and I saw that being openly gay could come with joy,” he said. .
“LGBTQ+ representation has rarely been present in male-dominated elite sports, where it is generally seen as a negative point of difference.
“For the first time in my life, I saw that people at the top of their game could be open and honest about who they were, and that came with an inner and contagious happiness.”
Humphries said being in the LGBTQ+ community taught him that “being open about who you are can be the most freeing thing you can do.”
He added: “Nobody hid who he was. And it created the happiest and most positive environment that I didn’t know existed. I hope that sport can become that.
“You can be gay and be an elite basketball player in one of the best leagues in the world. I am living proof of that.
“I know what it’s like to grow up in an environment that doesn’t seem welcoming, and I want to do my part to make basketball no longer one of those.”