DERRICK Gordon has come out as the first openly-gay player in a Division 1 men’s college basketball team in the US over the past few days.

 According to reports from both ESPN and the LGBTI athletics publication Outsports, the 22-year-old University of Massachusetts student (pictured) came out to his family, coaches and team mates earlier this month, after deciding that he “didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way”.

“I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me?’,” he said

Soon after Gordon’s interview with SportCenter’s Kate Fagan was broadcast on ESPN, the rising basketball star took to Twitter in order to further voice his emotions.

Gordon also stated that one of the key moments for him in regards to both his sport and and sexuality came when the Brooklyn Nets signed up the NBA’s first openly-gay player Jason Collins back in February of this year.

On the February 23, Collins became the first openly-gay NBA player to take the court, during a match against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“That was so important to me, knowing that sexuality didn’t matter, that the NBA was okay with it,” Gordon said.

Soon after this, the veteran center took to Twitter to commend Gordon’s courage.

Gordon also hinted during his interview with ESPN that he reached his decision to come out in the wake of the University of Massachusett’s first-round loss to Tennessee in the NCAA tournament back on March 21.

“I just had a lot of time to myself, thinking, and I didn’t know what I was waiting for,” he said.

In a written statement, the University of Massachusetts voiced their support for Gordon.

“UMass is proud to have Derrick Gordon as a member of our athletic family and to honor his courage and openness as a gay student-athlete,” athletic director John McCutcheon said in a written statement.

Gordon also stated to ESPN that soon after he came out to his fellow players at the University of Massachussets, one of his teammates immediately spoke up and said: “We got you; you’re one of us.”

“Before, I usually just kept to myself because I didn’t want to lie or be fake,” Gordon said.

“But not anymore. I feel so good right now. It’s like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

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