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American basketball star Derrick Gordon comes out as gay

The UMass player is believed to be the first active Division 1 basketball player to do so...

Derrick Gordon came out as gay today in a move that makes him the first gay Division I basketball player active in the sport.

The 22-year-old initially came out to his parents and teammates on 2 April ahead of coming out publicly today. He said, “'Happy' is not even the word. It’s a great feeling. I haven’t felt like this. Ever. It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally breathe now and live life happily."

Derrick had initially denied being gay, despite some teasing from his suspecting teammates after an ex-boyfriend uploaded a photo of the pair of them to Instagram. Derrick admits that the years of denying his sexuality were the “worst four years” of his life, and “Now that I’m taking the mask off, people can finally see who I really am.”

The decision to come out came from spending some time with openly gay athlete Wade Davis and high school coach Anthony Nicodemo. It was from this that he decided to tell his parents, and then his teammates. Derrick said that the isolation he felt in the closet made him want to quit basketball for good.

Derrick follows in the footsteps of Brooklyn Nets centre Jason Collins who came out a year ago this month, and Michael Sam, the Missouri American football defensive who came out in February.

Words: Perry Juby, @perryjuby

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