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Homophobia to blame? Derrick Gordon claims NBA shut him out

Photo credit: Instagram - @flash32gordon
Photo credit: Instagram – @flash32gordon

College basketball star Derrick Gordon rose to fame back in 2014 when he came out and became the first openly gay player in the NCAA. At the time, Gordon joined a growing number of gay, trans and bisexual athletes who were making waves in the sports world and it seemed like he might follow in the footsteps of the NBA’s first and only out gay NBA star, Jason Collins. However, Gordon’s NBA dreams were never realized and now that his college basketball career is over, he’s claiming that he was shut out by the NBA because he’s gay.

According to news reports, Gordon recently opened up about his stalled NBA dreams in a new interview about his basketball career. Gordon first came out while he was player at UMass before eventually transferring to Seton Hall.

Although the 6-foot-3 guard helped the Pirates reach the NCAA tournament in March and even went to a combine in Las Vegas in July and averaged 6.8 points, he still wasn’t able to get an NBA tryout.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere in terms of workouts,” Gordon explained. “Nobody was calling. Even after I went to the [Las Vegas] combine in July, I still didn’t get any feedback.”

According to Gordon, he believes the reason that he’s been shunned by professional teams is because he’s openly gay.

“I personally don’t believe it was because of my game,” Gordon said. “I think at least I could have been given a shot to work out [for an NBA team], to play against some of those other players instead of being shut out.”

He added, “I didn’t get a fair shot to show what I could do. It was without a doubt because of the fact that I’m gay. I was heartbroken.”

Despite Gordon’s friend, Collins, being able to play a half season with the Nets before retiring after coming out, Gordon believes it will be a long time before there’s another openly gay player in the NBA.

“Honestly, the NBA is just not ready for an openly gay player right now,” Gordon said. “Maybe it’s going to take some time for it to get to that point. I’m going to support that person, whoever that is. Right now, in 2016, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

Despite the heartbreaking end to his NBA dreams, Gordon says he’s now aiming for another childhood dream of his, which is to become a firefighter. Gordon recently started a two-week “boot camp” for emergency medical technicians and after he earns his EMT certification, he will take the National Testing Network’s firefighter exam in hopes of joining San Francisco’s department.

“I’m excited. Ever since I was little, when the trucks came by and I would hear the alarms go off, it always caught my attention,” Gordon said. “I always pictured myself in the back of a truck, in the passenger’s seat, as the driver. I always thought, if I don’t play basketball, this is what I would love to do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a dangerous job, a career as a firefighter. But it’s a great opportunity.”

What do you think of Gordon’s statements about homophobia in the NBA? Let us know in the comments.

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