NBA alum Isaac Humphries came out to his Melbourne United teammates in a moving locker room speech captured on video. (Watch it below.)
“I’ve finally come to terms with this about myself, and I don’t want to hide who I am anymore,” he said in the viral clip, shared Tuesday.
Humphries, a 7-foot center who previously played for the Atlanta Hawks and the University of Kentucky, told his Australian league team that torment over his sexuality led him to attempt suicide. He struggled with his identity until mingling in a community full of “pride and happiness and joy” — identified as Los Angeles in an open letter he released this week — while being treated for an injury in 2021. He called this experience a “wake-up call.”
“I decided that if I’m going to join a team, that 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,” he said in the video.
“That’s my goal behind this,” he continued: “[to] make sure people know that you can be whatever you want, no matter who you are and what you do. ... 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’ve discovered this is my purpose in life, and I’m going to give it my best go.”
Teammates and staff members applauded, and one by one they hugged the big man.
Humphries, a Sydney native who’s averaging 12 points a game for Melbourne in Australia’s National Basketball League, has had a nomadic career. He played high school basketball in Indiana before stints in Kentucky (from 2015-17) and the NBL, as well as Europe. He also played for the Hawks in five games during the 2018-19 NBA season. He returned to the NBL for a second hitch in the 2020-21 season.
But for at least a moment with his Melbourne teammates, Humphries perhaps felt truly at home.
After his announcement, the athlete got a shoutout from retired star Jason Collins, who was the first active NBA player to come out as gay. “Know that your story will help inspire someone else to step forward as well,” Collins wrote on Twitter.