Basketball fans around the world are throwing their support behind Aussie NBL star Isaac Humphries after the Melbourne United player openly came out as gay in a powerful video message.
Humphries says he hopes the decision to publicly announce his homosexuality will pave the way for more professional sportspeople to do the same.
The 24-year-old is the second active athlete in one of Australia's top sporting leagues to come out as gay, joining A-League Men's player Josh Cavallo.
The basketball star - who becomes the first openly gay player in NBL history - told his teammates about his sexuality before releasing a brave video message on social media, in which he goes into detail about the difficulties around his announcement and hopes of inspiring others to be comfortable in themselves.
"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 told teammates he had been through "extremely dark times" and had hidden his sexuality from loved ones and even himself.
"It is a truth about myself that I have wanted to deny for a long time, but now I feel comfortable in telling you all. That truth, is that I am gay," Humphries said.
"I have been through extremely dark times during this journey, but I have been through so much growth and I am now happy with who I am.
"I figured out a lot about myself during this most recent off-season, and I have thought about this a lot.
"I knew if I were to join a team and start a season, I knew I would have to reveal who I am and not hide any more."
Isaac Humphries hailed after courageous announcement
Humphries' revelation left sporting fans moved around the world, with the 24-year-old praised for the courage and significance of his announcement.
Make no mistake, this is a very powerful day in Australian basketball and sport thanks to Isaac Humphries. It’s gutsy, because some still have a long way to go, but people like Isaac will pave the way for change and acceptance. We are who we are.
— Michael Randall (@MickRandallHS) November 15, 2022
Really proud of former Cat Isaac Humphries and the courage behind this video
Take a couple minutes to watch https://t.co/lVYj17xNQP
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 15, 2022
— The NBL (@NBL) November 15, 2022
Proud of Isaac Humphries and immensely happy for him. We were lucky to have him at Kentucky
— . (@Kentucky___Blue) November 15, 2022
I love you, Isaac Humphries. 💜
— Kirsty Webeck (@KirstyWebeck) November 15, 2022
Isaac Humphries take a bow. Incredibly brave. 👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/nXmNo65ppD
— Nat Yoannidis (@NatYoannidis) November 16, 2022
This is HUGE! It takes balls to come out as gay in the world of professional athletics. Isaac Humphries has my deepest respect. https://t.co/CrP6yztz3g
— Peter Thurley (@pfthurley) November 16, 2022
pic.twitter.com/5QU6Inacq8 🌈🏳️🌈 Isaac Humphries becomes 🏀 1st top-tier openly gay player - a massive visibility movement for #LGBTQ+ people, particularly those that love the sport. Isaac is incredibly brave and by sharing his story so openly will be an inspiration worldwide.
— Michael McCann (@ThisIsMcCann) November 15, 2022
Humphries is the second male basketball player 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' announcement came ahead of a meeting with his former club Adelaide 36ers at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.
Melbourne United CEO Nick Truelson and head coach Dean Vickerman both offered their support for Humphries and said the organisation was proud of its player.
"Today is an incredible step in Isaac's journey, and we as a club are wholeheartedly supportive of him," Truelson said.
"Not only as a member of our club, but as a person. This is a momentous occasion for him personally, but also for male sport on a global scale."
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