Melbourne United center Isaac Humphries announced publicly that he is gay, becoming the first out gay current player in any top-flight men's professional basketball league.
"We, as athletes, as professional athletes, have a responsibility to set examples for people," Humphries said. "The truth is there are so many people in other worlds that are struggling every single day and don't know how to get up, (and) don't know how to exist. I know how that feels, and I want to represent those people."
He added: "That's my goal behind this: make sure people know you can be whatever you want, no matter who you are or what you do. You can be big Ice and be gay, and you can still be a great basketball player and be gay. You can do whatever you want. It has nothing to do with your sexuality, or who you are, or who you're meant to be, or who you're expected to be. I just want to be myself. I discovered this is my purpose in life, and I'm gonna give it my best go."
Humphries, 24, is averaging 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in Australia's NBL. He played his college ball at Kentucky and had a cup of coffee in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018-19 season, appearing in five regular-season games.
CNN International @cnni
"Truth is that I'm gay"<br><br>Australian basketball player <a href="https://twitter.com/IsaacHumphries7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IsaacHumphries7</a> tells <a href="https://twitter.com/AmandaDCNN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AmandaDCNN</a> why his dark road to becoming an openly gay player was absolutely worth it.<br><br>Read his story in <a href="https://twitter.com/CNNOpinion?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CNNopinion</a>: <a href="https://t.co/12YynSXvTb">https://t.co/12YynSXvTb</a> <a href="https://t.co/juhsSFezVm">pic.twitter.com/juhsSFezVm</a>
The only other player in a top men's basketball league to publicly come out as gay while being an active player was Jason Collins in 2013.
"Our whole organization is just so proud of Isaac," Melbourne United CEO Nick Truelson said. "Today is an incredible step in Isaac's journey, and we as a club are wholeheartedly supportive of him. 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."
Humphries said that hiding his sexual identity led him down a dark path.
"A few years ago, I fell into a very dark place, a very lonely place. 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. 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."
In 2021, Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge-rusher Carl Nassib—then with the Las Vegas Raiders—became the first active NFL player to announce he was gay. Later that year, Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop became the first publicly out gay active player signed to an NHL contract.