“Professional sports showing up for LGBT people is one of the biggest cultural developments of the last decade, and really the last five years,” said GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard to Outsports. “The NBA has been showing up for LGBT youth and for GLSEN for a number of years. Having this be a league-wide initiative, knowing any LGBT fan in the country can choose to celebrate their team and themselves with one of those shirts, that’s a whole new thing.”
This is the first time that a pro sports league has given all teams the rainbow-logo color scheme in support of Pride Month, according to OutSports. Previously, Major League Baseball and the NHL teamed up with apparel company ‘47 to release a Pride line of products with a limited number of teams, including the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
The NFL Players Association previously teamed up with Athlete Alley, a nonprofit group fighting for equality in athletics, to produce a line of shirts featuring the names of nine players in 2013. Among the athletes lending their name and numbers toward the cause were Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, former Washington Redskins wideout Donte Stallworth and former Ravens special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo.
The WNBA, which has openly embraced the LGBT community, also announced the start of WNBA Pride for the third consecutive season. In addition to Pride-related content and the WNBA Pride logo on courtside signage, the league also launched a line of WNBA Pride T-shirts with Adidas. Additionally, teams will offer special ticket packages in celebration of Pride Month.