NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum March in NYC Pride Parade

So maybe the NBA isn't quite caught up to MLS in its recognition of the LGBT community—particularly in the wake of the Orlando shooting—but this is an important step.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jun 27 2016, 2:18pm

The NBA is arguably one of the top-two best professional leagues in sports for a variety of reasons. But now you can add to their winning qualities their ability to bring the NBA to LGBT culture, if not vice versa.

Today, NBA's commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum marched in NYC's pride parade and actively promoted photos of them doing so. Yes, they were wearing NBA-themed pride t-shirts (whose proceeds go to GLSEN), and yes, they were very consciously tweeting their presence out of the NBA official Twitter account. But in the machismo, (mostly) straight world of men's sports, it's an important statement to make, even if a simple one. Just imagine NFL commissioner Roger Goodell marching today. (Terrifying, I know.)

Several professional sports leagues have been reaching out in support of victims of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting—such as the three Florida-based NFL teams donating $400,000 to OneOrlando Fund on Friday—but markedly absent is official language saying 'gay' or 'LGBT' in reference to the shooting, as Outsports Cyd Ziegler notes. MLS has proven to be an outlier of the leagues in terms of LGBT rights, and directly mentioned that Pulse was a "gay nightclub" in one of their press releases. MLS commissioner Donald Garber was also on hand when Orlando City SC commemorated first responders and support service personnel in a touching ceremony at one of their games.

So maybe the NBA isn't fully up to speed in its recognition of the LGBT community—particularly in the wake of the Orlando shooting—but Silver and Tatum at the parade is certainly an important step.

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