Uri Kokia has become the first Israeli professional basketball player to come out as gay.
The 36-year-old striker for the Hapoel, the second division in the city of Ramat Gan, has had a successful career in Basketball. He’s played professionally for over 15 years and formerly played for Israel’s national basketball team before suffering a torn tendon in his shoulder.
Now, Uri Kokia has made another hallmark moment in his career by coming out as gay.
Kokia shared the fact yesterday (Wednesday, November 29) through an interview with ynet.co.il.
“After many years of fear, I am now completely calm,” he told them in the interview, "I want to show you can make a long and glorious career as a gay man."
"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," he said.
So far, Kokia has received well wishes and praise for his coming out.
For instance, one Facebook user commented: “You’ve always been an amazing man on and off the field. You’re a role model and I hope that because of your amazing act, kids are not ashamed and comfortable with themselves.”
Meanwhile, another fan tweeted out, “Uri Kokia is stunning and brave.”
Uri Kokia responded to all this on Facebook by saying:
“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.”