From bottom to top, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss are our top selections, Los Angeles Dodgers executive Erik Braverman is the highest-ranked man and Brittney Griner is the highest-ranked person of color. All of them are in our Top 5. | Shelby Weldon / Getty Images

Outsports is highlighting our selections for the 100 most powerful and influential out LGBTQ people in sports in the United States.

League executives. Team owners. Athletes. Coaches. College sports administrators. Members of the sports media.

The breadth, depth and diversity of the honorees are a profound statement.

Here are Outsports’ selections for Nos. 1-10:


1) Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss
Tennis legends, MLB & NWSL owners and entrepreneurs
Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss are a team. They have been for 43 years, both romantically and in business. They talked with Outsports about being named our most-powerful out LGBTQ people in American sports. Check out the full story. — Cyd Zeigler

2) Megan Rapinoe
Athlete, USWNT and OL Reign
One of the most decorated athletes in history, Megan Rapinoe captured the nation’s attention as the biggest star of the back-to-back World Cup-winning USWNT teams in 2015 and 2019. In 2019, Rapinoe dominated the tournament like few others in history, capturing the Golden Boot (top scorer), Golden Ball (MVP), and Ballon d’Or as FIFA Player of the Year. She also took home an Olympic gold medal in 2012. The first publicly out athlete to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, Rapinoe has used her platform to advocate for LGBTQ rights, equal pay for the USWNT and racial justice. Alongside fiancé Sue Bird, she starred in a series of popular Youtube videos. She currently plays for the NWSL’s OL Reign and will look to capture her third World Cup this summer. — Ken Schultz

3) Laura Ricketts
Co-owner, Chicago Cubs
When the Ricketts family bought the Chicago Cubs in 2009, it marked a barrier-breaking moment as board member Laura Ricketts became the first out LGBTQ owner in Major League Baseball history. As chairman of the board of Chicago Cubs Charities, Ricketts oversees the team’s community outreach efforts and connections to city government. Under her leadership, the Cubs have maintained a strong presence in Chicago’s LGBTQ community with legends like Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg representing the team at the annual Pride Parade. A member of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and chairperson of the lesbian political action committee LPAC, Ricketts also uses her leadership presence in the sports world to act as public face of the family at the annual Cubs Convention. — Ken Schultz

4) Brittney Griner
Athlete, Phoenix Mercury
Griner is a basketball superstar — NCAA player of the year and national champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, a six-time WNBA All-Star, first openly gay athlete to get a Nike contract — who in 2022 became a symbol of people wrongly imprisoned worldwide. Griner was held in a Russian prison for 300 days before being released in a prisoner swap and she has since advocated for others to be released. Out and proud for years, Griner told People Magazine on 2019, “People tell me I’m going to break the barrier and trailblaze. I just kind of look at it like, I’m just trying to help out, I’m just trying to make it not as tough for the next generation.” Griner is doing much more than helping — she’s leading. — Jim Buzinski

5) Erik Braverman
SVP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Every June when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the biggest Pride Night in baseball, they have Erik Braverman to thank. After joining the Dodgers front office following a stint with ESPN Radio, Braverman conceived the team’s Pride Night in 2013 as a nightlong celebration of their LGBTQ fanbase. The promotion annually features everything from celebrities like Lance Bass and Jojo Siwa to LGBTQ couples spotlighted on the Kiss Cam to the players wearing rainbow L.A. caps during the game. Currently the Dodgers senior vice resident of marketing, communications and broadcasting, Braverman was inspired to come out publicly following 2015 Dodgers Pride and married his husband in an on-field ceremony at Dodger Stadium in 2022. — Ken Schultz

6) Sue Bird
Athlete, WNBA and Team USA
Sue Bird’s retirement last year, along with fellow WNBA icon Sylvia Fowles, was nearly a season-long event as congratulations poured in from across the basketball world commemorating her unparalleled two-decade career in the league. Since coming out in 2017 with her partner, Megan Rapinoe, the two have leveraged their power couple status in the business of sport and taken on ventures such as the production company A Touch More, as well as Bird’s media platform TOGETHXR, co-founded with Olympic luminaries Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim and Simone Manuel. The burgeoning Sue Bird sports empire also includes a minority stake in the NWSL’s Gotham FC, of which she says, “There is a lot of talk about the power of investing in women’s sports. As an athlete in a position to invest, I’m excited to now lead by example.” — Shelby Weldon

7) Carl Nassib
Athlete, National Football League
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay.” With those words on June 21, 2021, Carl Nassib electrified the country by becoming the first active NFL player to come out. Nassib used the announcement to raise money for the Trevor Project, a cause he continued after the season started. Most important, Nassib played a full season after coming out with the Las Vegas Raiders and then again in 2022 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, showing that the stereotype of an out gay player being a distraction was wrong. We know that Nassib is the first in his sport to come out, but we hope not the last. — Jim Buzinski

8) Amanda Nunes
Former champion athlete, UFC
The UFC’s resident “Lioness,” Amanda Nunes is the most dominant female fighter in MMA history. The decimating fighter retired earlier this month as UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight champion with her wife, Nina, a former UFC fighter herself, and daughter joining her in the octagon. Nunes is the only woman to hold two UFC championships simultaneously, holds the most wins by a woman in UFC history and remained undefeated in the UFC for more than six years. She is also the first out LGBTQ champion in UFC history. The multitime Female Fighter of the Year winner isn’t solely defined by her blistering knockout blows, though. Nunes and her wife take pride in their family and identity, telling the BBC in 2021, “We just want to show, ‘Yeah, we have a lot of things going on in our life — I’m the champion, we have a baby, we are gay but also we are normal.’ We just love and want to live our lives.” — Brian Bell

9) George Cheeks
President and CEO, CBS Sports et. al.
Cheeks was “Paramount’s point person on discussions with the NFL for the massive rights renegotiation that culminated last year.” That’s some real power. Cheeks, who is gay, is President and CEO of CBS and Chief Content Officer, news and sports, Paramount+. His varied career also included being co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and he has made the Variety500 — a list that showcases the powerful in Hollywood — each year from 2020 to 2022. — Alex Reimer

10) Sam Rapoport
Sr. Director, DEI, NFL
Sam Rapoport has worked in football – with the NFL and USA Football – for 20 years. She has built a career elevating women and LGBTQ people in America’s most popular sport. Now as the NFL’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she is at the epicenter of the expansion of women in football, and she is a driving force of that change. No one has elevated more women and more LGBTQ people in football thank Rapoport. She and her wife have a boy and a girl. — Cyd Zeigler