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Derrick Gordon giving up basketball to pursue career as firefighter

There might be more history to make for Derrick Gordon, it just won't happen on the basketball court.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Gordon, who made history be being the first openly gay male Division-I basketball player, has announced on Twitter that he is giving up basketball in favor of pursuing a career as a San Francisco firefighter.

In high school, Gordon was a first-team All-State performer and the 2011 Union County Player of the Year at national powerhouse St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, N.J. His college career began at Western Kentucky, where he averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for a Hilltopper team that won the Sun Belt Tournament before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

Gordon transferred to Massachusetts after his freshman season, where he averaged 9.4 ppg as a sophomore in 2013-14. He made a bigger splash off the court following that season, when he announced in April of 2014 that he was gay, becoming the first male Division-I athlete in either basketball or football to do so.

After another transfer to Seton Hall, Gordon made even more history in 2015-16 when he helped the Pirates to their first Big East Tournament title since 1993. The triumph made Gordon the first player in the history of college basketball to appear in the NCAA Tournament three times with three different teams.

Despite seeming like an obvious candidate to land a professional contract somewhere, Gordon says that seeing the World Trade Center collapse across the river from his childhood home in New Jersey had a lasting effect on him.

"It's something I thought about when I was little," Gordon explained to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "I like to help people. I talked to my parents about it. It's the best decision for me to move on with my career.

"It's a lot different than basketball. But it's still working as a team and I'm doing it in the best city. It's a great opportunity and a great situation. At the end of the day as long as I'm happy that's all that matters."