Jason Collins may be the first openly gay player in the NBA but he isn’t the first homosexual to play professional basketball. Charles Barkley said that he played with three or four gay players during his career.
Barkley was on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and said that he absolutely had a few gay teammates.
Barkley said: “Of course I did. Everybody did. Everybody played with a gay teammate and it’s no big deal. Everybody’s played with a gay teammate … I probably had three or four guys I played with over 16 years.”
If Sir Charles met his first gay NBA player when he was drafted in 1984 that means that there have been gay players in the NBA for nearly three decades.
When Jason Collins came out earlier this month he made a point to say that he’s played with several NBA players. Collins has played on many different teams and, even though some of his teammates didn’t know he was gay, he still played with several different professional players. Barkley used the same argument today reiterating that “everybody in the NBA has played with a gay teammate.”
Barkley said: “Everybody has played with a gay guy you just didn’t know he was a gay guy. Because before they come out, it’s none of your business … I know we live in a nosy society but it’s none of our business.”
Here’s the video from the Dan Patrick Show.
This isn’t the first time that Barkley has spoken in support of gay players in the NBA. The former All-star and current commentator said: “Us, being black, we’ve got to always be for tolerance. I never went through what the great Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jim Brown and all of those guys went through. But just thinking about it, it had to be horrific. So we got to always be for tolerance and acceptance.”