HoopsHype Derrick Gordon rumors

April 10, 2014 Updates

Kyrie Irving strongly supported Derrick Gordon on Wednesday, Irving’s former teammate and the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball. “I’m proud of him,” Irving said. “It’s a big step, not only in his life but in his career to get the weight of the world off his shoulders.” Irving spoke to Gordon on Tuesday, but had no idea he is gay or that he was planning an announcement. Irving said he learned it watching television like everyone else. Akron Beacon Journal

Gordon is a sophomore at Massachusetts, and the two have been friends for about eight years, Irving said, including time as high school teammates at St. Patrick’s in New Jersey. “I never had a problem with homosexuality,” Irving said. “Even if one of my teammates was a homosexual, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But to see guys in sports coming out now is part of life.” Akron Beacon Journal

April 9, 2014 Updates

Derrick Gordon, a University of Massachusetts guard, became the first openly gay male basketball player in Division I. He was a high school teammate of Irving’s. “I’m proud of him,” Irving told the Associated Press. “It’s a big step, not only in his life, but in his career.” Morning Journal

Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon, a high-school teammate of Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, announced publicly Wednesday he is gay, becoming the first male Division I basketball player to do so. Before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards, Kidd-Gilchrist released the following statement through the Bobcats: “Derrick was a great teammate and is an even better friend. I admire his courage and willingness to share his story. Just as we supported each other on the court, I am proud to support him now. He is a basketball player, a teammate and a friend, and that’s all that matters.” Charlotte Observer

No active male athlete in Division 1 college basketball, football, baseball or hockey had ever said those words publicly. After years of waiting for someone else to break the barrier, Gordon wasn’t going to wait any longer. With the players and assistant coaches gathered in a room, Kellogg addressed the team. Gordon sat to the side, along with two confidants he had recruited for support: You Can Play’s Wade Davis and high school basketball coach Anthony Nicodemo. The two men had been instrumental in guiding Gordon through the coming out process. Kellogg regaled the men with talk about the importance of diversity. Everyone on the team comes from a different background, he said; everyone brings something different to the court. Then, Kellogg broke the ice. "I just wanted you all to know," Kellogg said, "I'm gay." OutSports.com

Gordon did feel safe in New York City, where he would venture out to gay clubs. He spent this past New Year’s Eve in the gay clubs of Manhattan – getting no sleep and taking two trains to get there – simply to be in an environment where he felt he could be himself, anonymously. A couple times in the last year someone did recognize him in a gay bar, driving him deeper into the closet and depression. "It was the worst four years of my life," Gordon said, despite the accolades and opportunities he’s received in those four years. "It was torture. I was just going around faking my whole life, being someone I'm not. It's like wearing a mask because everyone else was wearing that mask. Now that I’m taking the mask off, people can finally see who I really am." OutSports.com

Now that the transformation of his personal life is nearly complete, he’s looking ahead to the rest of the week, year, and his burgeoning career. Gordon said the 2014-15 UMass basketball season has the potential to be special on the court. They should return three starters plus key reserve Trey Davis, a sophomore. Gordon won’t be satisfied until he hears the Minutemen in the conversation for a national championship. Off the court, Gordon feels he now has a responsibility to other young gay athletes. He never expected to come out publicly now. Somewhere in the back of his mind he thought maybe after graduating from UMass or, if he plays pro ball, maybe after a few seasons there. "God put me in this situation for a reason, so I have to take advantage of it. Maybe he wants me to be the starter of something big. Maybe he doesn't want me to feel the way I felt anymore. Whatever he has in store for me, I’m ready." OutSports.com

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