Gay basketball player Marco Lehmann has come out publicly.
The Swiss professional basketball player penned an article for fiba3x3.com in which he talks about living a dual life — happy gay man at home and miserable, closeted, wildly successful basketball player on the court.
I had been switching personalities for so long now, that it was affecting my mental health. Every week the same old thing: my boyfriend would drive me to the airport and the minute I would go through security, the happy gay man in a relationship turned into the emotionless pro athlete, who didn’t want to talk about his personal life.
Lehmann has played full-court basketball professionally from 2012 to 2020, averaging at least 11 points each of his first seven seasons. He also represents Switzerland on the international stage, playing on the Swiss national 3×3 basketball team.
According to FIBA, he is currently the 63rd-ranked 3×3 player in the world and the second-best player in Switzerland. FIBA calls him one of the best shooters in 3×3 basketball.
While 3×3 basketball will be in the 2020 Summer Olympics (assuming they take place), don’t expect to see Lehmann and his Swiss team in Tokyo as they are not in the 20-team qualifying tournament despite being ranked No. 15 in the world. Lehmann said he has his eyes set on 2024.
Lehmann’s coming out is a milestone. Seeing a gay male athlete come out publicly on a national team-sport team is exceedingly rare. In fact, I struggle to think of another example in men’s sports, though of course many women on national teams have come out publicly — at best guess, well over 100.
While 3×3 basketball may not get all the TV time in the United States, according to a study by the IOC it’s the largest urban sport in the world.
There are also only a handful of gay men in professional basketball who have been out while playing, including Jason Collins, Derrick Gordon and Uri Kokia.
Be sure to read Lehmann’s full first-person story. And we look forward to big things from Lehmann for years to come.
You can also watch him talking about coming out in this YouTube video: