During a recent press conference, Curt Miller took time to speak up for other gay men looking to coach in basketball. | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment Los Angeles Sparks coach Curt Miller came out to the general public in 2015, he has spoken about the importance of being a role model for other gay men looking to get into coaching.

Almost a decade later, he remains the only publicly out gay man to become head coach of a major North American sports team. 

Miller is keenly aware that no gay man has followed in his footsteps and during the lead up to Sparks Pride Night, he spoke eloquently and at length on the subject.

“It’s really important to me to continue to provide visibility and representation to the coaches behind me,” he told the media, “I didn’t have a role model. I didn’t have someone that I could call and reach out to to navigate as a gay male in sports.” 

As a barrier breaker, Miller knows about the massive pressure that goes along with performing in a high pressure job while lacking any identifiable figures who have already shown that it can be done.
He talked bluntly about the inevitable result of the dearth of role models besides himself in the coaching ranks, noting that he had watched many gay men walk away from their professional coaching dreams in both men’s and women’s basketball.

After seeing this scenario play out multiple times in the NBA, WNBA, and G League, Miller realized that providing visibility as an active and successful head coach was going to be one of the most important aspects of his career.

He also concluded that it was time to use his elevated platform to issue a challenge to the people running his sport on behalf of his community.

“I’m going to try to keep carrying that banner until the decision makers open the door more and advancement is possible for young gay men that are in the sport of basketball. We are losing too many because they don’t see advancement opportunities. And they’ve only seen me for 22 years and I am hellbent to keep plugging away so those barriers are broken down for others,” Miller vowed.

Concluding his remarks, Miller revealed that he recently ended a relationship with an unnamed current professional athlete. During their time together, he witnessed the forces keeping his ex-partner closeted and saw the mental toll that he went through.

“Knowing what they still worry about in a pro men’s locker room and just wanting to be one of the guys, and watching them potentially struggle is really difficult for me,” he said.

As a two time WNBA Coach of the Year and winner of two Conference Finals, Miller has undoubtedly left his mark on the league. It’s clear that what motivates him most is to leave a more significant mark by showing other gay coaches that a long and brilliant career is possible for anyone.