Australian basketball star Isaac Humphries opens up about coming out to his teammates and why he feared they wouldn’t talk to him again, only to get a VERY different reaction.
When Melbourne United center Isaac Humphries made the decision to speak to his NBL teammates last week, he knew he was taking a huge risk that left him vulnerable to losing his teammates, or potentially even his basketball career.
The former Atlanta Hawks big man revealed on KIIS 1011’s Jase & Lauren breakfast show that he was terrified his Melbourne teammates wouldn’t talk to him after he came out as gay.
‘I was very excited. It had accumulated so much in my head that I thought maybe some teammates wouldn’t talk to me anymore, I just didn’t know,” he said.
“And to have them all give me hugs like literally every single one of them and go back and get a pride jersey and be really interested and accepting, it wasn’t how I completely envisioned it to be honest.”
“I guess I was probably thinking more on the negative side, but I was so overwhelmed by the support from every single one of my teammates.”
Humphries talks to his Melbourne United teammates in emotional scenes last week
It was hugs for Humphries as his Melbourne United teammates hugged him one by one.
It wasn’t just his own teammates that Humphries was concerned about, but also his friends and teammates across the league.
And he didn’t have to wait long to face his former teammates at the Adelaide 36ers with the two sides reuniting the next day at John Cain Arena.
Humphries had a strong performance with eight points, including a dunk, along with six rebounds and four assists as United pushed the 36ers to the limit.
“It was great, it was my first dunk of the season,” he said.
There are so many metaphors in that. The weight was lifted off my shoulders.
“It was quite special to play against my old team, I have a lot of brothers in that team, people I love very much.
‘They were very supportive, it was special for sure.
‘It’s the fear of the unknown and how it will unfold.’
Humphries defends Robert Franks of the 36ers during the NBL round 7 match between Melbourne United and Adelaide at John Cain Arena
A drunken statement from Humphries as the big man let all his emotion out on the pitch against his former team
Coming out, Humphries became the first NBL player and only the second professional men’s basketball player in the world to be openly gay while still actively playing.
When asked what makes it harder for athletes to reveal their sexuality, he said the fear of losing all they had worked so hard for was a major reason.
“Before, you see some examples of careers going down or maybe not getting a job anymore, and it’s that fear of how it’s going to affect my career,” Humphries said.
“Because we work so hard for our career and dedicate our whole lives to our craft and to think that who we are, if sharing who we are could lose all of that, it’s very scary.”