Bill Kennedy, a top referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA), has announced that he's gay.

“I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Yahoo! Sports. “I am following in the footsteps of others who have self-identified in the hopes that will send a message to young men and women in sports that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.”

In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver offered his support.

“I wholeheartedly support Bill's decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Silver told Yahoo! Sports. “Throughout his 18-year career with the league, Bill has excelled as a referee because of his passion, dedication and courage. Those qualities will continue to serve him well both as a game official and as a positive influence for others. While our league has made great progress, our work continues to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”

Kennedy's announcement comes just weeks after Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo unleashed a torrent of anti-gay slurs toward Kennedy. The incident occurred after Kennedy ejected Rondo from a game on December 3. A second referee told investigators that he heard Rondo calling Kennedy “a fucking faggot.” The NBA suspended Rondo on Friday.