The National Association of Basketball Coaches will host a panel discussion on LGBT issues at their convention during the Final Four in Indianapolis. The event, co-hosted by the You Can Play project, is the result of a year of efforts by Saunders High School Coach Anthony Nicodemo, who came out as gay almost two years ago at his Yonkers, N.Y., high school where he has found nothing but acceptance.
"Any time I can preach inclusion in basketball it makes me feel really good," Nicodemo said. "I love the sport and it's my passion. To be able to help this forum take place on the biggest stage in basketball is awesome. The NABC has been so supportive, first with their anti-bullying-and-inclusion policy and now this forum."
The panel will feature some insightful voices from the basketball world:
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- Derrick Gordon, active player at UMass
- Derek Schell, former player at Hillsdale College (Mich.)
- Anthony Nicodemo, current boys basketball coach, Saunders High School (N.Y.)
- Jason Collins, former Stanford player and NBA.
Other basketball players and coaches - both gay and straight - have been invited as well. I will moderate the panel.
With the new Indiana state law, legalizing discrimination against LGBT people, these will be hot topics at the Men's Final Four. While members of the panel may touch upon the law and its impact on the sports world, the discussion will focus on improving the environment in men's basketball for LGBT athletes.
"It gives us an opportunity shed some light on the importance of diversity and inclusion and do it one of the biggest weekends in sports in front of coaches who have an opportunity to share that message with their players and take it back to their respective schools," You Can Play executive director Wade Davis told USA Today.