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College basketball player Derrick Gordon advises other gay athletes not to wait to come out

College basketball player Derrick Gordon advises other gay athletes not to wait to come out

It’s only been less than two weeks since Derrick Gordon became the first NCAA Division 1 basketball player to come out publicly as gay.

But he wants some company – quick.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst sophomore is advising other young gay athletes to follow his lead.

‘Don’t wait because you’re scared,’ he told SiriusXM Progress on Friday (18 March). ‘Don’t wait until you’re 35 or 40-years-old and done playing the sport that you love. Because it’s stressful to live that way.’

‘It’s going to make your life so much easier.’

As bold as he is feeling now, Gordon admitted he might not have come out at all had Jason Collins not returned to the NBA this spring and played so well for the Brooklyn Nets.

Collins came out last year when he was a free agent and was not picked up by a team until well into the current season.

‘At the end of the day I do want to play in NBA,’ Gordon said. ‘So if it didn’t work out for Jason, I’d probably still be in the closet. He played a big impact.’

So did NFL prospect Michael Sam.

‘Even though Michael Sam is in a different sport, seeing an athlete come out and be open about themselves, it gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to be myself, too, and not worry about what other people say,’ Gordon said.

The young athlete reflected on the emotional price that he paid for being closeted.

‘I cried most of the nights when I was in the closet just because it starts to take a toll on you just because you’re worried about how people are going to think about you and what they’re going to say about you,’ he said.