Melbourne United’s Isaac Humphries hopes his decision to publicly announce that he’s gay will pave the way for more professional sportsmen to do the same.
United’s starting centre, Humphries became the the first openly gay player in NBL history when he made his announcement to teammates on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old is the second active athlete in one of Australia’s top sports leagues to come out as gay, joining A-League Men player Josh Cavallo.
“I believe it is definitely time to make a change and set an example to the next generation that they can be anything they want while still being true to themselves,” Humphries said.
“I want to demonstrate that you can be a professional athlete, you can be anything you want, and still be gay.”
Humphries told teammates he had been through “extremely dark times” and had hidden his sexuality from loved ones and even himself.
“It is a truth about myself that I have wanted to deny for a long time, but now I feel comfortable in telling you all. That truth, is that I am gay,” Humphries said.
“I have been through extremely dark times during this journey, but I have been through so much growth and I am now happy with who I am.
“I figured out a lot about myself during this most recent off-season, and I have thought about this a lot.
“I knew if I were to join a team and start a season, I knew I would have to reveal who I am and not hide any more.”
Humphries is the second male basketball player to come out as gay while playing in one of the world’s top-tier basketball leagues.
NBA veteran Jason Collins was the first, in 2013.
Humphries’ announcement came ahead of a meeting with his former club Adelaide 36ers at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.
United CEO Nick Truelson and head coach Dean Vickerman said the organisation is proud of Humphries.
“Today is an incredible step in Isaac’s journey, and we as a club are wholeheartedly supportive of him,” Truelson said.
“Not only as a member of our club, but as a person.
“This is a momentous occasion for him personally, but also for male sport on a global scale.”
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