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Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks Owner, Believes Gay Basketball Player To Come Out In NBA Soon

Posted: 12/19/11 02:02 PM ET

The NBA might currently be without an openly gay player, but according to one top basketball honcho, it's going to happen soon.

In an interview with TMZ, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he expects the NBA to welcome an openly gay player within the next three to five years.

"I think there'll be guys who'll come out of the closet and continue to play in the NBA and be accepted," Cuban says in the interview (at about 9:00). After noting that he believes an openly gay player will come before a female coach, he added, it will be "more of a media sensation....than a player issue."

Of course, when a gay basketball player does come forward, he'll be in good company. Take a look at some famous LGBT athletes below:

Gareth Thomas
1  of  13
Thomas's decision to confirm his sexuality while still an active rugby player was praised by LGBT rights advocates as a brave move. Though others have since followed suit, Thomas hoped people who eventually consider his sexuality as irrelevant. "What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby," he told The Guardian. "I'd love for it, in 10 years' time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: 'So what?'"

Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |