Some Awesome Sports Stars Who Supported Their Gay Kids (And One Who Didn’t)

We’re celebrating father’s day a little early this year, with a look at some of the awesome dads-of-gay-sons in the sports world. There are not many — at least, not many who are open and out. In reality, there are probably a ton, but it’s hard to find dads who are as vocal with their support as these guys. Here are the ones we know of:

Isiah Thomas and his son Zeke


“My parents like to say they always knew I was gay. I came out to them, and they were very accepting. I always knew they would be accepting.”

Isiah Thomas, a basketball player, posed for some NOH8 photos with his son Zeke a couple of years ago. But apparently Zeke’s dad wasn’t always such a goody two-shoes: Magic Johnson, another basketball player, claims that the older Thomas spread rumors that he was gay.


Magic Johnson and his son Earvin

Speaking of Magic Johnson, here’s his kid Earvin Johnson III, also known as EJ3 (ugh) wearing fur (we hope it’s fake). Magic and his wife are both very supportive of the kid, which is lovely, but hopefully someone’s told him the hard truth about that outfit.


Brian Burke and his son Brendan


Brian Burke played hockey for a Ducks team and a Maple Leafs team, and then his life turned upside-down when a car crash killed his son Brendan. Brian became active in PFLAG in his son’s memory, marching in parades and speaking out against anti-LGBT bullying.


Tommy Lasorda and his son Tommy Jr.


Tommy Lasorda was reportedly not such an awesome dad. His son, Tom, died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, though the two were estranged at the time. To this day, he claims his son wasn’t gay and died of pneumonia. A 1991 article doesn’t mention anything about being gay or having AIDS, but this 1992 GQ article gets as close to the truth as anything could.


Lance Alworth’s son Lance

Lance Alworth was a football player back in the ’60s and ’70s. His son, also named Lance, got married a few years ago.

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  • ray68

    Thanks for the link to the Tommy Lasorda Jr article that ran in GQ. It’s an eye opening, heartbreaking read. One point of clarification, according to that article, his father and family were all present at his passing. The father and son had a complicated relationship, to be sure, but it does not sound like they were estranged.

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  • ppp111


    To this day he won’t acknowledge what his son really died of. Sad really but I guess that’s his way of handling his grief.

  • DShucking

    @ppp111: Or maybe it’s his way of not wanting people to think he had a gay son who died of AIDS because he thinks that having a gay son who died of AIDS is something to be ashamed of.

  • ppp111

    Sporting figures of his generation and background, such as Bobby Knight and Mike Ditka, don’t strike me as the kind of men who would even acknowledge they have gay kids. It pains me to admit it but you’re probably right. Ah well.

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