Dennis Rodman thinks ’10-20% of pro-athletes are gay’

Retired basketball player Dennis Rodman suspects 10-20 percent of professional athletes could be gay, even though none have come out while competing in any major American sporting league.

Rodman enjoyed a 20-year career playing for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.

During this time he became famous for his flamboyant and often gender non-conforming style. He has spoken openly about partying in gay clubs, dressing in drag and having sexual fantasies about men, although he denied being gay himself.

Dennis Rodman’s unique style made him one of the world’s most recognisable athletes (Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty)

In a recent interview with Business Insider he said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if as many as 20 percent of players in all pro sports were gay.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, literally, I’ve said it all along, if 10 percent or 20 percent of people in the NBA, or any sports, [are] gay,” he said.

“It wouldn’t shock me at all. I think today, it wouldn’t shock anyone. I think that’d be more acceptable now than anything.”

There are no openly LGBT+ athletes currently competing in the NBA, the NFL, the NHS or the MLB, but Rodman believes the time has come for this to change.

“I don’t know why people haven’t came out before,” he said. “It’s cool that people are coming out being, you know, gay or homosexual or whatever, lesbian and stuff like that.”

Dennis Rodman referred to the 27-year-old NFL veteran Ryan Russell, who recently came out as bisexual.

NFL veteran Ryan Russell (right) with his boyfriend, the professional dancer Corey O’Brien (Instagram/@corey_obrien)

“It don’t matter if [you’re in] sports or entertainer or actor or whatever in the world… Who cares? OK. Who cares? You know, as long as he play and perform, does it matter?” Rodman said.

Russell previously played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is looking to be signed to a new team but is currently still a free agent.

He chose to come out in a moving ESPN article he penned himself, after a gossip blogger threatened to out him but promised to keep it a secret “as a favour”.

“Let that sink into your brain,” Russell said. “Even though openly LGBTQ people are thriving in every area of public life — politics, entertainment, the top corporations in America — they are so invisible in pro sports that a gossip blogger is doing a favour for a bisexual football player by not disclosing that he happens to date men.”

“Nobody should need a favour to live honestly,” he added.