When Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay active athlete in North American professional sports, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried was one of the leading supporters among his peers. LGBT rights advocacy is a very personal cause for Faried, whose mother is lesbian. Waudda Faried nearly married Kenneth’s father and did not come out to her son until he was about 9. A couple years later, Waudda began dating Manasin Copeland, and they have both been mothers to Kenneth ever since. This year, Faried became the first NBA player to join Athlete Ally, an organization that promotes acceptance of all sexual orientations.
On the court, “The Manimal” has earned a name for himself with tenacious hustle and rebounding. He may need to develop more skills this year for Denver, which lost Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors. He'll also be playing for a new coach, Brian Shaw. ThePostGame chatted with Faried about his basketball career and advocacy.
ThePostGame: You’ve been an outspoken advocate in the past for LGBT rights. What is the motivating factor behind that?
KENNETH FARIED: I wanted to do it. It’s my mom -- my moms, I guess. They’re the motivation that drove me to do it. They didn’t tell me to do it. Actually they didn’t even want me to come out [in support], but I felt that I was comfortable enough in my own skin to come out and just help my mom.
TPG: Do you think the NBA and sports in general are becoming more accepting of that in locker rooms?
FARIED: I think with [Jason] Collins coming out, it’s going to be weird at first, but people are going to become more receptive and more respectful towards them.
TPG: A lot of turnover for the Nuggets this offseason. What are you looking forward to about next season?
FARIED: Just getting back to the gym and playing. I want to play, you know? I’ve got USA basketball coming up [minicamp was last week in Las Vegas], so I’m focused on that right now, and I just want to get out there and play again.
TPG: What’s your most memorable experience as an athlete or as a sports fan?
FARIED: My first NBA point.
TPG: Who was that against?
FARIED: It was against the Sacramento Kings.
TPG: Do you remember who you scored on?
FARIED: It was actually a pass from Rudy [Fernandez] – he threw it behind his back, and I just took the lob and dunked it. It made [SportsCenter’s] Top 10 – No. 1, actually.
-- Follow Alex Leichenger on Twitter @AlexLeich.