Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay Division I player to appear in a men's college basketball game in the Minutemen's season opener Friday night.
Gordon came out publicly in April, a week after informing his teammates and coaches. He became the first Division I player in any of the major sports of men's basketball, baseball and hockey to announce he was gay.
On Friday, Gordon scored 17 points, including two critical free throws late, to help the Minutemen beat Siena 95-87.
According to ESPN.com, Gordon said before the game that he's had a better relationship with his teammates since April's announcement and that he's become a better player.
"I went into it like a regular game," he said, according to ESPN.com. "I've been here before, but it was good to see the support I had."
The UMass student section was filled Friday night, and a few minutes after the start of the game, students began chanting "Der-rick Gor-don" when he went to the free throw line. A separate group of students was holding up a sign featuring Gordon's jersey number -- No. 2 -- beneath, on which was written the Nike slogan "#BETRUE" in rainbow-colored letters.
Gordon's announcement came about a year after NBA center Jason Collins became the first active player in a major professional sport to announce he was gay.
Ex-Missouri defensive end Michael Sam also publicly announced he was gay this spring. Several weeks later he became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft and was later on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.
Gordon averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds last season.
- Ben Estes