Derrick Gordon is an athlete, activist, trainer and actor. We discuss becoming known as the first openly gay D1 Men’s Basketball player, making global news instantly, what his life has been like since, and what’s in store for the future.
Dustin: Thanks for doing this interview with us. How are you doing today? How does it feel to be the first openly gay NCAA player?
It’s different now since it’s been a couple years that went by so I’m just living my life. But I’m glad I could be the first and I hope that my story can help other people.
Dustin: Have other athletes reached out to you for help?
I talked to Michael Sam, Jason Collin, Wade Davis, and Billy Bean.
Dustin: Why do you think not many athletes are comfortable coming out? What needs to change?
Personally I believe that coming out is a process for everybody. Some people may not be ready and others are worried that it will affect their careers.
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Dustin: What are you up to these days? Are you still playing Basketball? What kind of changes have you made in your life since becoming such a public role model?
I’m getting ready to move to Beverly Hills soon. I’m a basketball trainer, working on a book with my publisher, and possibly will have my own docu-series on Logo TV or Bravo TV. I’m living my life the way I want to. I’m getting ready to make a transition to Beverly Hills and live out there.. plus acting in my first movie and writing my first book with my team. Life is amazing and I’m truly grateful.
Craig: As well as being part of woofd I’m one of the social media managers for TEDxSydney, so I have to ask a few TED centric questions. I’m just really interested in that journey. Doing a TEDx talk is a great achievement, how did that come about?
I did a TED Talk when I was at University of Massachusetts. I got the gig after I came out. It was my first speech ever. I was a little nervous but excited at the same time.
“Always do and live how you want to live. Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Life is too short to not be yourself. Don’t worry about what others will think or say about you.”
Craig: That’s a pretty cool gig for your first time speaking, how did you prepare for that?
I had people at school help me with it. It was my first big time speech that I ever did and I had to have a format and it had to flow. It was my story so it made it a lot easier.
Craig: With some of the great projects you’re working on it looks like you’re taking the ‘ideas that spread’ philosophy next level. What are you writing your book about?
My Book will be about Manifestation and Law of Attraction and how it has helped me changed my life and how I’m living my life the way I want to.
Dustin: Your book sounds very interesting. I think Craig and I both believe in that as well. I’m sure you’ve faced a lot of obstacles. What has kept you motivated and driven?
I’ve always told myself that I want to be successful at the end of the day. My life is more then basketball. And everything that I’m doing now I’m just as happy.
Dustin: What are your thoughts on the recent events in Charlottesville / the political climate here in the States?
Charlottesville is been insane the past couple days or so. I feel bad for the people who are affected by it and that lives there.
Dustin: What advice would you give to an athlete that wants to come out?
Be Yourself, Life’s too short to worry about what others think about you. Live and enjoy life.
Craig: We all have role models, and there are I’m sure there are people who look to you. If you could give them 3 tips or ideas to being yourself and living that great life, what would they be?
Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Always do and live how you want to live. Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Life is too short to not be yourself. Don’t worry about what others will think or say about you. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
Dustin: You recently got cast in a movie! Can you tell us about the movie and casting process?
My manager gave me a call yesterday and he is one of the writers for this movie and he told me that he wants me to be part of it and that I will have a great role. The movie is about a group of friends that go away, there’s a plot twist, and they start to share secrets with each other.
Well good luck with the movie and everything else! Be sure to keep us updated.