How would an openly gay NBA player be received in the NBA?
“I think it will be more of a media sensation when someone comes out than it will be a player issue.”
That player, when he comes out, is going to have to be willing to be in the spotlight for cultural issues and not just a basketball player. There will be some hate thrown his way from the stands and a few players, but the bigger distraction likely will be interviews before and after every game and a lot of off-the-court demands for time.
As for the locker room reaction, while there may be a few who speak ill, I think the reaction of most players will be that of most people when they learn someone they know is gay — “He’s gay? I had no idea. Cool guy, doesn’t really change what I think of him.” And in this case, if the guy can help a team win on the court the vast majority of players will accept him almost instantly. That said, it will change locker room language, where a gay slur is commonly thrown around as an insult. That is starting to change, the pace would pick up much faster.
Attitudes are changed because some players may not realize they know a gay person and when they find out they do they understand said person is no different than they are in almost every way. They accept them as a player and person. It’s how change is made, not with broad sweeping gestures but one person at a time.