For Pride month, we’ve dedicated each day of June to an individual athlete or coach whose shining moment changed LGBTQ sports.
There’s only one player to ever play in March Madness for three different teams, and that’s Derrick Gordon.
After being featured as a high school basketball player in the HBO documentary xx, along with Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gordon headed to Western Kentucky, where he helped the Hilltoppers to an NCAA tournament berth. They won their 16-seed play-in game against Mississippi Valley State before falling to Kentucky.
Gordon then transferred to the Univ. of Massachusetts. There, in 2014, he played in a first-round game for UMass, the 6-seed, against 11-seed Tennessee. It was the first March Madness game for the school in 16 seasons. The Minutemen were upset in that game, falling to the Volunteers, 86-67.
Gordon came out publicly just a couple weeks later, in stories for Outsports and ESPN. He then decided to play his final season of eligibility with Seton Hall. And in 2016, with the Pirates, he became the first publicly out gay man to play in an NCAA Div. I game, and then subsequently the first to play in an NCAA Div. I tournament game.
The team’s success, with an out gay player, playing for a Catholic school, shattered all of the distraction-myth nonsense we’ve heard for so long about potential problems with out gay men in major sports programs.
We’ll have another Moment of Pride tomorrow and every day in June.