Global support for gay NBL star Humphries

Melbourne United's Isaac Humphries hopes his decision to publicly announce he's gay will help change how homosexual people are viewed in sport.

Humphries received global support after becoming the first openly gay player in NBL history when he made his announcement on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old is the second active athlete in one of Australia's top sports leagues to come out as gay, joining Adelaide United A-League Men player Josh Cavallo.

"I believe it is definitely time to make a change and set an example to the next generation that they can be anything they want while still being true to themselves," Humphries said.

"I want to demonstrate that you can be a professional athlete, you can be anything you want, and still be gay."

Humphries made his announcement through a club statement and video of the starting centre delivering the news to his Melbourne United teammates, which was released on social media.

In the video, an emotional Humphries said he had hidden his sexuality and revealed the extreme toll it had taken on his mental health.

"Life's about doing hard things and learning from them and making a difference through those hard times," Humphries said.

"A few years ago I fell into a very dark place, a very lonely place. I couldn't be who I am and I attempted to take my life.

"The main reason behind me becoming so low and being in that point is because I was very much struggling with my sexuality and coming to terms with the fact that I'm gay.

"I hated it about myself. I was disgusted at myself.

"I thought that I could not be that person within our environment and within a basketball environment.

"It wasn't until I was in a community that's full of pride and happiness and joy and it was a big wake-up call for me."

After reaching that point, former Adelaide 36ers player Humphries decided he would come out publicly if he joined a new team.

He signed with Melbourne United in July.

"We as athletes, as professional athletes, we have a responsibility to set examples for people," he told teammates in the video release.

"And the truth is that 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.

"That's my goal behind this, (to) make sure people know that you can be whatever you want, no matter who you are or what you do.

"I just want to be myself. I've discovered that this is my purpose in life and I'm just going to give it my best go."

Humphries is the second male to come out as gay while playing in one of the world's top-tier basketball leagues.

NBA veteran Jason Collins was the first, in 2013.

Humphries, who played five NBA games for the Atlanta Hawks in 2018-19, feels safe in his environment at Melbourne United but described basketball as "homophobic" in an interview with CNN.

"The environment is very masculine ... it's not as progressive as the rest of the world. It's a little bit back in time in those locker rooms," Humphries told CNN.

"It is talked about quite negatively, the idea of being gay. It's not an environment that makes you feel super comfortable to be this.

"That's part of this whole change. The idea of normalising this sort of situation is amazing.

"It's something that needs to happen. It's certainly time. It's certainly long overdue."

Melbourne United and the NBL on Wednesday expressed their pride in Humphries and publicly declared their support for the player.

The NBA also praised Humphries as the news spread around the world.

"We are proud and grateful to Isaac for sharing his story," the league said in a statement.

"We know the real impact his honesty and courage will have on many others. Isaac has our unwavering respect and support."

Humphries' announcement came ahead of United's meeting with Adelaide at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.

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