The National Basketball Association (NBA) has banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The protection was included in the league's latest collective bargaining agreement, which was signed by the players' union and ratified Thursday by the NBA's board of governors.

The NBA joins the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in offering such protections to players.

Mike Thompson, acting president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), praised the move.

“The NBA now joins Fortune 500 companies and the vast majority of Americans who believe that gay people should have the same opportunities to work and live freely as who they are,” Thompson said in a statement. “This decision shows that homophobia has no place on the court or in the game and we hope that local college and high school teams follow this important example.”

In May, former Phoenix Suns CEO Rick Welts announced he's gay, becoming the NBA's first openly gay official to lead a team. Welts said NBA Commissioner David Stern was supportive of his decision to come out. (Welts now lives with his boyfriend in California.)

Stern also acted against Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah when they hurled anti-gay slurs earlier this year.