Melbourne United starting center Isaac Humphries made an announcement about his sexuality on Tuesday.
The Australian National Basketball League player said publicly that he is gay. He went on to say that he hopes his announcement will give other athletes the confidence to come out.
Humphries played college basketball at Kentucky from 2015-2017 and posted a video on social media of him telling his teammates on Wednesday.
“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.”
The 24-year-old told his teammates about the struggles he endured while he hid his sexuality from people who were close to him 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.”
Humphires announcement comes more than a year after A-League soccer player Josh Cavallo announced he is gay. The A-League is highest-level professional men’s association football league in Australia.
Humphries is one of the few males to publicly announce he’s gay while playing in one of the world’s top-tier basketball leagues.
In 2013 Jason Collins became the first active NBA player to come out as gay.
Melbourne United chief executive Nick Truelson shared the organization’s support 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.”
Erik Denison of Monash University’s BehaviourWorks Australia, a behavior change institute, said he was encouraged by the team’s support of Humphries, but noted “they need to do much more.”
“Basketball is not safe for gay and bisexual kids,” Denison said. “We need basketball’s leaders to invest in strategies to stop harmful homophobic behaviors in their sport. These behaviors make athletes like Isaac feel unsafe and unwelcome.”
Melbourne United plays the 36ers on Thursday.