Former Kentucky center and current Melbourne United big man Isaac Humphries came out publicly as gay on Tuesday, which makes him the only openly gay player in a top men’s basketball league in the world.
Humphries shared a post on social media that showed the moment he first opened up to his teammates about his struggles with coming out, his mental health and a past suicide attempt.
“A few years ago I fell into a very dark place, a very lonely place and I couldn’t be who I am. I attempted to take my life," he said. "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 am 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 is full of pride and happiness and joy, and it was a big wake up call for me … I decided that if I’m going to join a team, that I’m going to come out publicly and just make sure that people know that you can live and you don’t have to hide just because you’re an athlete.”
Humphries is now the second men’s basketball player to come out as gay while actively playing in a top league around the world. Longtime Nets center Jason Collins came out at the end of his career in 2013. Former Jazz and Magic forward John Amaechi came out years after he left the league.
Humphries played at Kentucky for two years from 2015-17, and averaged 2.4 points and 2.7 rebounds with the Wildcats while helping them reach the Elite Eight in his final year there. He briefly spent time with the Atlanta Hawks during the 2018-19 season and in the G League for parts of two seasons.
The 24-year-old is now with Melbourne United in Australia’s National Basketball League. He’s averaging 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and a league-high 1.9 blocks per game.
"We love Isaac here at the club," United head coach Dean Vickerman said in a statement. "For him to feel comfortable to be his true self here is great, and 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.
"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."