Gay Basketball Players And Inspiration You Gain From Them

A group of people on a court

Even when there have been gay basketball players who have come out, the number is not many. There is still a barrier when it comes to professional sports. The fear has always been there and still is – of the unknown and the change. And this is the reason there has been no progress in this area. The fear is more in terms of coaches and management than the reaction of fellow players. Fear of career being affected, franchises discouraged from pursuing them. 

But being closeted also affects how the player plays in the court, John Amaechi, former MBA player, says. Protecting one’s secret takes up the most energy that might deter him from living up to his full potential. But at the same time, he says, coming out is a personal decision, and no one should be forced. Coming out should be a decision because it is better than being in.

Gay basketball players – John Amaechi  

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John Amaechi, one of the first gay basketball players, came out in the public in the year 2007. He made this decision in his memoir titled Man in the Middle, published after his retirement. Amaechi was a closeted player during his days in the NBA. He used to hear platers use anti-gay slurs and spout homophobic language. But this changed between 1999 to 2000 when he averaged 10.5 points and stared in over half of the team’s games. In 2007, when he came out as gay, he received mixed reactions from his former peers. Some supported, and some didn’t. Six years later, he encouraged one player and ensured him that it is okay to come out. And at that, the reaction was universally positive. This man was Jason Collins.

Gay basketball players – Jason Collins 

A group of people playing a game of basketball

“I am a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black, and I’m gay.” This is how Jason Collins came out in public. 

He came out in the year 2013 in a Sports Illustrated cover, and it became history in itself. He was first one among gay basketball players to come out while he was playing. He played 22 games as a backup role before retiring later in the year. His coming out was praised and welcomed by everyone.

Many had felt that Collins coming out might trigger other professionals from the major leagues, too. National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Hockey League (NHL). Since his coming out, he has tried to create an inclusive environment for everyone, currently working as a community ambassador for the NBA. He works with LGBTQ athletes across the country and had become the face of the LGBTQ movement in professional sports. The former NBA player recognizes that there is still much work to be done.

In 2016, the NBA had become one of the first leagues to have a float in New York City’s annual gay pride parade.  

Gay basketball players – Macro Lehmann

Marco Lehmann is one of the gay basketball players to come this year, 2021. He has played pro basketball for eight seasons and has also been on the national 3X3 team. From 2012 to 2020, he has played professionally full-court basketball. The Swiss professional basketball player talked about living a dual life. One, where is he a happy gay man at home. Second, a miserable, closeted, and wildly successful basketball player on the court. The personality change had affected his mental health, he said in an article. It is rare to see a national team player come out publicly, thus making Lehmann’s coming out a milestone.


The issue of not being recognized might never go away from society. Even when teams do put in the efforts, their voice gets drowned out by the fans who disagree. But maybe, just maybe, with enough support and an open environment, this might change.

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