Sometimes the hardest conversations can be the most uplifting. That was the case this week, when Australian pro basketball player Isaac Humphries came out as gay to his Melbourne United teammates in an emotional locker room speech.
“I’ve finally come to terms with this about myself, and I don’t want to hide who I am anymore,” he says in a video, which went viral Tuesday.
In the video, Humphries addresses a locker room full of teammates and coaches in what he says is “one of the hardest conversations [he] ever had in [his] life.”
He details being in a “dark place” a few years ago and attempting suicide over struggling with being gay and a professional athlete, before finding a community that helped him through it.
“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 want to hide who I am anymore,” he says. “I decided that if I’m going to join a team, I’m going to 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 was born in Australia and spent time in Canada growing up. He joined Melbourne United in July of this year after playing for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and several minor league teams.
Humphries becomes the first openly gay player in Autralian pro basketball. There are currently no openly gay players in the U.S.’s NBA. Jason Collins came out following the 2012–13 season, but did not play again until 2014. He retired following the 2014 season.
Over in football, NFL player Carl Nassib came out as gay last year, becoming the first gay player on an active NFL roster. He currently plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Today Isaac Humphries has decided to demonstrate tremendous courage to make an important announcement to his teammates,” read a post on the Melbourne United Instagram. “As an organization we are very proud of Isaac and look forward to supporting him through this next step in his journey.”
Humphries says his goal in coming out so publicly is to show that you can be whoever you want to be.
“No matter who you are and what you do—you can be ‘Big Ice’ and be gay and you can still be a great basketball player and be gay,” he says. “I just want to be myself. I’ve discovered this is my purpose in life and I’m gonna give it my best go.”
Humphries’s video circulated widely on social media Tuesday, with other athletes and public figures congratulating him.
And as a fun bonus, Humphries is also a musician and has his own version of “O Holy Night” out, in case you want to make the yuletide even more gay.
Congrats to Humphries on his coming out!