Looking for that out NBA player

It’s a strange world we live in when TMZ Live is a source for discussions of social progress and political sound bites. I refer to the news, I mean entertainment source, when I want to verify rumors like the untimely demise of Jon Bon Jovi (false!). But when its daily show had Mark Cuban on, self-made billionaire and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, to pontificate about whether Pro Basketball will ever have a female coach, the conversation turned to gays on the court. I couldn’t help but ask, is this all a set up to another reality show, starring Mark Cuban? Maybe.

Disregarding that Mark was mixing apples and oranges with his train of thought, he was addressing discrimination and the “perceived bigotry” within the sport as a whole. Cuban asserts professional basketball is not set up to receive a woman head coach because there aren’t any currently trying to rise in the ranks we usually promote head coaches from. Maybe because they’re discouraged? Professional sports has a tendency to celebrate a specific type of virility—ciao Kobe— that makes it tough for anyone that doesn’t fit a mold to flourish, or feel very welcome.

Mark Cuban has a favorite phrase, “No balls, no baby,” and where it’s easy to add a “that’s what she said,” to this backwater nugget of ascetic wisdom, there must be something to his philosophy. How many of us have sold our tech companies to Yahoo? But for Cuban, with his square jaw and casual Friday swagger, to state we will see an openly gay NBA player within three to five years begs the question, who is this current college student and what team is he playing on? I’m not much for March Madness, but I’d watch just to support an athlete that technically represents me, and my lifestyle. I’d also buy his jersey in every color available. It took Rick Welts a lifetime and a solid position to come out publicly. There’s also a huge cultural divide between a CEO’s world and a first round draft pick’s.

We all know Mark has a flair for dramatics, and he can be a bit of spotlight hog (remember Dancing with the Stars, we’re not even touching The Benefactor). But in order for this assertion to have credibility at all, a gay man must already be living out and proud in every way and on a court somewhere. Does he have a boyfriend? Is he a player? Does he think John Amaechi is cute? He must be fighting for acceptance and making waves in gay news circles. Where are they? Then again this could be a case of the media taking a sound bite and running with it. Then again, Mark is also scheduled to appear on ten of the thirteen new episodes of Shark Tank, which premieres January 20th, 2012. And there’s no such thing as bad press.

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