In many sectors of society, stigmas still haunt members that are of the LGBTQ+ community. In sports, gay and bisexual athletes are often victims of discrimination by their peers and other players. That current reality has motivated ex-Europe pro basketball player Phillip Miller to take a stand.
Not long ago, Phil came out of the closet and expressed to the world the truth about his sexuality. He then went to narrate the many factors in professional sports that make it hard for members of the LGBT community to be honest with others about their sexual identities. A basketball player who went pro in Europe, Phil has decided to step out of Euro basketball to use his platform and speak on behalf of gay and bisexual sports professionals. His message to all is that it’s okay to be a gay athlete.
Phillip Miller is a 28-year-old guard from Dallas, Texas, although he’s originally from Oklahoma City. He played four years of college basketball at Wiley College and Howard Community College. Later on, he decided to move his talents overseas and play professional basketball in Europe, where he flourished. He’s played for multiple teams, including Jaszberenyi KSE in the Nemzeti Bajnokság I/A league in Hungary, CS Phoenix Galati in the Romanian Divizia A, and Sokhumi under the Super Liga.
The ball player has contributed 18 points, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest. His record year was his year with Sokhumi in the 2015-2016 season, where he recorded a little shy of 20 points in 34 games. He’s best known for being a sharpshooter from the 3-point line boasting a 45 percent shooting percentage from three.
Despite his relative success in the European market, Phil always felt conflicted. He shares the struggle of hiding his sexuality from the world to avoid public scrutiny. As of late, there has been an effort to fight for the inclusion of the LGBT community in sports. A study in 2015 showed that over 56 respondents believed that their opinion of professional sports would become “somewhat more positive” or “significantly more positive” if teams expressed support for LGBT athletes and fans. Despite that, there have been many reports of discrimination towards athlete members of the LGBT community. On occasions, intercollegiate teams have forced out players for their sexuality.
After five seasons in European basketball, Phillip Miller has decided to step out of professional basketball to fight for the cause of LGBT inclusion in sports. “Why, you ask? Because there’s so many athletes that are the closest and are afraid of being rejected by teammates and coaches.” shares Phillip. “I would just like to be an inspiration and voice for those individuals dealing with their sexuality.”
In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis that canceled sports seasons, Phillip took to online channels and expressed his sexuality to the public. Today, he is taking an active stand in fighting for equality for the marginalized community, most notably in sports. “I just want them to know they’re not alone.” shares the pro athlete. “And I want to do whatever I can to be recognized. To not judge a book by its cover. I believe I can make a change and be an inspiration.”To follow Phillip and his newfound cause, you can visit his Instagram.