Reggie Bullock spends part of his All-Star break visiting with LGBTQ youth

Reggie Bullock was planning to take a vacation during NBA All-Star weekend.

One week after being traded to the Lakers from the Detroit Pistons, and with just 25 games left in the season, Bullock was hoping to take his mind off basketball before he realized where the NBA All-Star game was taking place.

“I’m from North Carolina,” the 6-foot-7 guard said as he stood in the hallway of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Charlotte. “It’s good to be back here. I wanted to come back to my home state this weekend and try to have a positive impact.”

Bullock, who grew up in Kinston, N.C., met and spoke with 25 LGBTQ youth and allies from Time Out Youth Center, a safe space for LGBTQ youth in the Charlotte area. Bullock has been an advocate in the LGBTQ community since 2014, when his transgender sister, Mia Henderson — whom he knew as his older brother, Kevin Long, when they were growing up — was stabbed to death.

“It was good for me to be able to be here with them and talk to them and hear their stories,” Bullock, 27, said. “They weren’t holding back on anything. It opened up my eyes to what they have to go through on a daily basis, because when you randomly walk past someone, you never what they’re going through. I’m trying to educate myself every day as a straight man on this community that I stand up for and support.”

Bullock’s first home game as a Laker will be Thursday night. While the season is almost over and he will become a free agent this summer, he hopes to make an impact in the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles.

“I’m definitely going to try to do some stuff in the community,” said Bullock, who’s in his sixth NBA season. “I would love to be a leader in the LGBT community in Los Angeles and be able to use my voice and platform to stand up for them.”

Bullock didn’t know much about the LGBTQ community when Mia was alive. He continued to call her Kevin until her dying day. She never got to see him play college basketball at North Carolina because Bullock didn’t know what his teammates and other people would think, and she didn't want to make things uncomfortable for him. He smiles when he thinks of what she would say about his involvement in the community now.

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“I know she would be proud of what I’m doing,” Bullock said. “It would probably bring tears to her eyes. I know she’s looking down on me and smiling, knowing that her brother is doing the right things to keep her name alive and know that she’s not forgotten. She can’t be here with me physically, but she’s with me spiritually on an everyday basis, leading me and guiding me.”


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