Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shirts Versus Skins.

Out of all the sports that have had athletes "come out" and declare their sexual orientation, basketball is one of the few that has had players do so and continue to actively compete. The long line of notable athletes like tennis players Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova, swimmer Greg Louganis, Olympic boxer, Marc Leduc, ice skater Brian Orser, football players Dave Kopay and Jerry Smith, all came out after their pro careers were over.

While WNBA players Latasha Byears, Michele Van Gorp and superstar Sheryl Swoopes all came out publicly while still playing, not much can be said for the men aside from John Amaechi's declaration of being gay after his NBA retirement. I'm hardly saying it's an easy task, as I believe the world of professional basketball isn't really ready to accept a gay player, particularly corporate America.

However, there are a number of openly gay men playing basketball, most notably the San Francisco Rockdogs who are being profiled in the new reality show Shirts & Skins on Logo, a subsidary network of MTV. The show follows "the true-life story of the San Francisco Rockdogs, a young all-star basketball team who must reunite to uphold their city's three-generation legacy of international gay games gold medal, and national tournament wins."

Is this a big deal? Yes.
Are they playing in the NBA? No.

Now gay men are comfortable playing basketball and being open about it, in a sport with it's fair share of homophobia. Although when Rockdog DeMarco Majors came out when he was playing in the ABA, some in the league weren't all too comfortable.

I'm curious to know what people think, peep the show, there are episodes online.
How would you feel playing with/against a gay baller?
What if one of the NBA's elite was a homosexual?
It's 2008, is the world ready?
Feel free to comment, (and you can do so anonymously).

By the way, UK footballer Justin Fashanu, rugby player Ian Roberts and baseball player Glenn Burke, all came out during their careers, wanted to point that out before the fact checkers started blowing me up.

UPDATE: My man Will Strickland wanted to include this attachment in his comment, but since it wouldn't allow, I uploaded it.
video

1 comment:

Umac said...

Sweets,

This season, keep your eye on the cats who like to get dunked on with the cashews all up in their grill & "thoat"box (yes..I said T-H-O-A-T!).

If you had to speculate, who would your Top Five candidates NOT named Walter Hermann be:)?!?!? nah...That's not fair to him, especially since he's not here to defend my ignorant calling out of him!

All jokes aside, since Magic's Kingdom fell in 1991, after kissin' Isiah & Mark Aguirre in the 1989 NBA Finals, could we venture to say that there may have been a couple cats who were "saaaaaffft like porridge" in the L, maybe even switch hittin'?

Actually, I really don't care, as long as they can help me win my fantasy league & don't come talking to me about the back door play!!!

Far from a homophobe, because our team trainer when I was in university was gay & one of the best people I know, but your blog does make me pause & wonder.

Shit...that sounds like the standard racist / homophobe defense: "Some of my best friends are BLACK / GAY, blah,blah, blah! HAHAHAHA! Strange, but true...

Anyway, in today's world, where a Black man is on the verge of becoming President of one of the most blantantly racist, intolerant countries, we'd think people would be more tolerant & able to separate professional from personal.

Guess not...

Then again, I wonder how I would react in a locker room where I knew I had an openly gay teammate, because we can say anything in the hypothetical...

Damn...