An NBA star has become the first active top-level basketball player to join an athletes gay rights group.
Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried, who was raised by a lesbian couple in New Jersey, announced on Tuesday (12 February) he had joined Athlete Ally, an American organization aimed at tackling homophobia in sport.
A statement by the player, nicknamed the ‘Manimal’ by NBA fans, was released on the group’s website:
‘Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country. I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honour and support them in every way.
‘The bond I have with them has made me realise that I want all members of the LGBT community – whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans – to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities.’
The National Basketball Association has welcomed Faried’s decision to join the group. NBA executive Kathy Behrens said in a statement: ‘We are proud to work with Athlete Ally and thank Kenneth for his leadership on the issue.
‘His support on this issue is a welcome step in the NBA’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about and end homophobia in sports.’
Athlete Ally was founded in 2011 by American wrestling coach Hudson Taylor in an effort to tackle homophobia in high school and college sports.
Faried is the seventh professional athlete in the last month to join the organisation, joining the likes of NFL Super Bowl winner Brendon Ayanbadejo and Australian Rugby star David Pocock.