Derrick Gordon: First Out NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Player

In Depth

UMASS guard Derrick Gordon has become the first male basketball player to come out in the NCAA’s Division I. He informed his teammates at a meeting on April 2nd.

Gordon gave an interview to Kate Fagan of ESPNW where he described the coming out process. He said that that while his coach was surprised, none of his teammates were at all. The most difficult part was telling his parents, he told Fagan. He said he had trouble getting to the point.

It got to the point where I just told them to start guessing what it was… “Why don’t y’all start guessing and maybe if you say the right thing, I’ll agree to it.” About the time they got to the seventh or eighth thing, my mom popped it and I hopped on it real quick. And I said, “Yes, that’s it.” She just looked at me and froze…She was shocked, but then she said she knew a little bit, and that’s what surprised me.

Before coming out publicly, Gordon told Fagan that he watched the media coverage of Jason Collins, the veteran NBA player, and Michael Sam, the NFL prospect, both of whom came out publicly. According to Fagan, he also made connections with the wider community of out current and former athletes to prepare for going public:

About a year ago, Gordon befriended former NFL player Wade Davis, who is now the executive director of You Can Play. Davis introduced Gordon to Anthony Nicodemo, the boys’ basketball coach at Saunders High School in Yonkers, N.Y., who came out as gay last year. Davis and Nicodemo, along with several others, including Collins, mentored Gordon behind the scenes.

In the future, Gordon said he plans to pursue his dream of playing for the same NBA which just resigned Collins. He said he hopes to see some rainbow flags flying in the stands of his next games.

Image via AP.

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