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Isaac Humphries, Pro Basketball Player, Comes Out as Gay

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(CNN) -- As he begins to discuss his sexuality, Isaac Humphries says he is able to lift 25 years of weight off his shoulders.Humphries, who plays for Melbourne United in Australia's National Basketball League, had never previously spoken publicly about his sexuality out of fear it would negatively impact his career.But now, he says he feels ready to "live my true life" and become the world's only openly gay man playing top-flight basketball."Forever, I thought that being a professional basketball player and gay were mutually exclusive and that I had to hide that side of my life and wasn't allowed to be who I truly am," Humphries exclusively tells CNN Sport's Amanda Davies."I'm making the decision to come out ...

because I believe that I can be who I am in my environment, and I can change the trajectory of how we view being gay in sport."In 2013, former NBA player Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in one of the four major North American sports leagues when he came out late in his career.More recently, Josh Cavallo, who plays for Adelaide United in Australia's A League, became the only current openly gay top-flight male soccer player when he came out last year.As for Humphries, he says coming to terms with his sexuality drove him to a "very dark" and "very lonely" place before feeling comfortable enough to come out."My self-hate, my self-homophobia -- everything in that realm was very, very real within my brain and it got so dark that I absolutely thought about exiting this world," he adds."I didn't want to exist like this, I didn't think I was allowed to exist like this within my basketball world."But it was his love of basketball that Humphries says saved his life, together with the notion that he could.

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