Uri Kokia has come out as gay making him the first professional basketball player to come out as gay in Israel.
Kokia, 36, came out in an interview with ynet.co.il on Wednesday.
“I want to show you can make a long and glorious career as a gay man,” Kokia says. “The fear of coming out of the closet is unreal. I want to connect with young people and tell them that you can be different and do what you love.”
Kokia has been playing basketball professionally for 15 years. He is currently a striker for Hapoel Ramat Gan. He and his partner live together and are raising a daughter together.
In a Facebook post, Kokia thanked his fans for their support.
“It’s not easy to put all the thoughts and feelings I’m going through right now. So I’m just gonna say thank you to everyone… for the kind words,” Kokia writes.