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Ex-Seton Hall Player Derrick Gordon: NBA Blackballed Me Because I'm Gay

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Former Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon says he believes he wasn't given the chance to try out for a single NBA team this summer because he's gay.

"I didn't get a fair shot to show what I could do," Gordon told the Asbury Park Press. "It was without a doubt because of the fact that I'm gay. I was heartbroken."

Gordon, a Plainfield, New Jersey, native who played at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, participated in the Las Vegas combine in July, a showcase geared toward scouts from overseas leagues. He said he hoped to raise his profile with NBA teams there.

"Honestly, the NBA is just not ready for an openly gay player right now," Gordon said. "Maybe it's going to take some time for it to get to that point. I'm going to support that person, whoever that is. Right now, in 2016, I don't see it happening anytime soon."

However, several NBA scouts told that the 6-foot-3 guard simply lacked the talent needed to earn a tryout.

"He's not an NBA player based on skillset and ability level," one scout said.

The NBA has had one openly gay player to date -- Jason Collins, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 after coming out.

As a senior last season, Gordon started in four of Seton Hall's 34 games, averaging 8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1 steal per game. The Pirates won the Big East tournament and reached the NCAA tournament.

This isn't the first time Gordon blamed feelings toward his sexual orientation for being slighted. After deciding to transfer from the University of Massachusetts following the 2014-15 season, he began to look for a new team, but some were not as welcoming as Seton Hall, he said in May 2015.

"During the recruiting process, a number of schools didn't want me because I'm gay," Gordon said. "To me, that's blatant homophobia. At the end of the day, no coaches will ever admit that they don't want me because I'm gay and there's baggage that comes with the attention.

"Honestly, it caught me off-guard. It really hurt. It had me stressing, crying. I was starting to lose hope. I felt like I was being treated like an outsider, like I didn't belong in the NCAA."

Gordon came out as gay in interviews in 2014 while he was playing for UMass, becoming the first openly gay player in Division I college basketball.

Now moving on from his dream of playing in the NBA, Gordon, who earned his EMT certification, said he's setting his sights on becoming a firefighter in San Francisco.

"I'm excited," he told the Asbury Park Press. "Ever since I was little, when the trucks came by and I would hear the alarms go off, it always caught my attention. I always pictured myself in the back of a truck, in the passenger's seat, as the driver. I always thought, if I don't play basketball, this is what I would love to do."

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