Isaac Humphries has shared vision of the moment he came out to his Melbourne United teammates and coaching staff, becoming the NBL‘s first openly gay player.
The 24-year-old fought tears during an emotional speech where he explained the “extremely dark times” he experienced when coming to terms with his own sexuality.
”I have hidden something about myself my whole life, from everyone I love, and even myself sometimes. 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 told his teammates.
READ MORE: South African great shreds ‘bully’ David Warner
READ MORE: Norman ‘needs to go’ as LIV boss says McIlroy
READ MORE: Twist for World Cup star after Radley bust-up
“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 anymore. I have finally come to a point where I know I can reveal myself as a gay man and still play professional sport.”
Humphries is the first professional Australian men’s basketball player to come out as gay. He is the second men’s player to come out while playing in a major league after NBA veteran Jason Collins came out in 2013.
The 211cm star, who enjoyed a successful multi-year college career in the US with Kentucky, revealed that he’d previously attempted to take his own life as he grappled with his own sexuality.
“I couldn’t be who I am, and I attempted to take my life. The main reason behind me becoming so low and being in that point is because I was very much struggling with my sexuality and coming to terms with the fact that I’m gay,” he said.
“I hated it about myself. I was disgusted at myself. I thought that I could not be that person within our environment, within a basketball environment. It wasn’t until I was in a community that’s full of pride and happiness and joy – it was a big wake-up call for me.
“But then came the big question mark of how do I be a basketball player, and how do I join a new team when I’ve finally come to terms with this about myself and I don’t wanna hide who I am anymore? I decided that, if I’m gonna join a team, that I’m gonna come out publicly, and just make sure people know that you can live. And you don’t have to hide, just because you’re an athlete.”
Humphries was immediately embraced by his teammates and the rest of United’s staff, with coach Dean Vickerman saying “we couldn’t be more proud of him”.
“We can’t underestimate how difficult this must have been for Isaac, but I’m really excited by the fact that he can be completely open and honest with his teammates and now ultimately, the world. It’s huge,” he said.
“Isaac has also made it clear to me and the rest of the team that while this is a massive occasion for him off the court, his focus remains on the court. We will continue to support Isaac however we can, while also pursuing another NBL championship with this group.”
Humphries is the starting centre for Melbourne United and is averaging 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game so far this season.
He joins A-League star Josh Cavallo and league great Ian Roberts as the only Australian men’s professional athletes to come out as gay.
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!