Basketballer Isaac Humphries comes out as gay in emotional video

Isaac Humphries

Basketballer Isaac Humphries, who currently plays for Melbourne United, has revealed that he is gay in an emotional video that sees him sharing the personal information with his teammates. 

This report contains information about suicide ideation.

“A few years ago, I fell into a very dark place, a very lonely place.” Humphries told his colleagues. “I couldn’t be who I am, and I attempted to take my life, and the main reason behind me becoming so low and being at that point is because I was very much struggling with my sexuality and coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.”

The sportsman said he was unable to reconcile his sexuality with his career in a premier sporting field.

“I hated it about myself, I was disgusted at myself. I thought that I couldn’t 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.

“But then came the big question mark of how do I be a basketball player, and how do I join a new team when I’ve finally come to terms with this about myself and I don’t wanna hide who I am anymore.

“I decided that, if I’m gonna join a team, that I’m gonna come out publicly, and just make sure people know that you can live. And you don’t have to hide, just because you’re an athlete.”

Humphries is only the second top-tier basketballer to come out as gay following NBA star Jason Collins who came out in 2013.

Born in Sydney, Humphries trained at the Australian Institute of Sport before heading to the USA in 2014. He played college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats.

His professional career has seen him spend time with the Sydney Kings, FMP Meridian in Belgrave, the Erie BayHawks and Atlanta Haws in Georgia USA, Lakeland Magic in Florida, the Adelaide 36ers, and most recently Melbourne United.

Humphries told his teammates that part of being a professional athlete is setting an example for other people.

“We, as professional athletes, have a responsibility to set examples for people.

“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, don’t know how to exist.

“I know how that feels, and I want to represent those people.”

Humphries said he wanted to set an example for the next generation of athletes.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman has praised Humpries for his decision to come out to his teammates and the world.

“We love Isaac here at the club. For him to feel comfortable to be his true self here is great, and we couldn’t be more proud of him,” Vickerman said.

“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.”

Pride in Sport applaud Humphries statement

Beau Newell, National Program Manager for Pride In Sport, said Humpries decision to share news of his sexuality showed courage and leadership.

“His bravery is to be congratulated and his journey shows the unfortunate reality that many athletes face when they are not able to enjoy the sport they love as their true selves.

“Like Humphries, many athletes self-edit their existence in sport and expend a good deal of their daily energy on hiding their true self from others. His statement highlights the fear that many athletes have in coming out: that they will face potential discrimination, harassment, bullying from those within their sport and loss of professional opportunities.

“We know that experiences of prejudice and harassment, and/or not being able to live openly can impact on the mental health of LGBTQ people. Research shows that traditional sports are often seen as unwelcome spaces for people of all ages with diverse sexualities or genders, with many athletes being completely or partially in the closet while playing sport due to fear of intolerance and discrimination from other players, coaches and officials.” Newell said.

“This is a fear that is justified for many, but as many LGBTQ athletes who have recently come out over the past few years have demonstrated, such as Adelaide United FC player Josh Cavallo most recently, it has not been their experience.

“It is the right of every player to be accepted and affirmed, on and off the sporting field, and we know that when this happens, mental and physical health outcomes dramatically improve.

“Sport has an amazing opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment to all people, including people with diverse genders and sexualities. We congratulate Melbourne United and the NBL for providing a player with a welcoming, supportive, and safe professional environment where he can be himself.”

“We applaud Humphries for sharing his story and couldn’t be prouder of him.” Newell said.

Researcher highlights the positive impact of having a role model in the sport 

Dr Erik Denison, with Monash University’s BehaviourWorks Australia, a behaviour change institute, has conducted multiple studies examining homophobia and why gay athletes do not come out in sport.

Today he said that actions like those undertaken by Humphries will have a major impact on reducing homophobia in the game.


“Meaningful action by basketball leaders is needed to end homophobic abuse.” Dr Denison said.

“It’s great to see Isaac’s team supporting him, but they need to do much more than this. Basketball is not safe for gay and bisexual kids. We need basketball’s leaders to invest in strategies to stop harmful homophobic behaviours in their sport. These behaviours make athletes like Isaac feel unsafe and unwelcome.

“I’m often asked why there are so few gay or bisexual athletes in professional sports. Gay and bisexual male athletes are dropping out, or in some cases taking their own lives, before they get to the professional levels because of the constant use of homophobic language.

“Gay boys play team sports like basketball at half the rate of straight boys because they feel unsafe and unwelcome.

“The video recorded by Isaac is heart wrenching. Professional athletes should not feel they need to make the choice between taking their own lives, dropping out of sport, or coming out to their teammates.” Dr Denison said.

OIP Staff

Do you need some support?

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