sports

Is This Really Just the 3rd Official ‘Gay Night’ For the NBA?

We’re completely prepared to be called stupid on this one, since you folks are often wiser than we, but is the announcement from the Golden State Warriors that they’ll host a Gay and Lesbian Night on March 11, against the Portland Trailblazers, really only the third time an NBA team has hosted such an event in its entire history?

In 2004, the Philadelphia 76ers hosted a gay/lesbian “community” night, which is said to be the league’s first. In February 2007, the Toronto Raptors hosted Rainbow Hoops Night (named after a “lesbian-positive” rec basketball league). And now comes the Warriors’ event, where “participants … can partake in an open gym at Oracle Arena earlier in the day … to play basketball on an NBA court.” And: “National Anthem will be performed by the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus, and there will be a halftime performance by Cheer SF, a local gay cheerleading squad.”

Neat!

Except: In the 60-plus years the NBA has been around, it’s a little unsettling only three teams — and only once each — have hosted a LGBT-themed event. We’ve already looked at how ridiculous it is for the WNBA to be scared of its gay fans. But as we take a wider look at gays in sports, is the NBA’s lack of queer outreach a result of homophobia, an adoption of heterosexism, or just missed opportunity they will soon exploit?

Either way, it’s too bad, because with terms like “shoot,” “score,” “double dribble,” “swing man,” “drilled,” “elbowing,” “man-to-man,” and “double team,” there are 10,000 different ways to invite the gays to the game.