New York City —
Professional basketball players in the NBA are now officially protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The National Basketball Association announced on Thursday that anti-discrimination language is included in the new collective bargaining agreement.
"This collective bargaining agreement will help us move toward a better business model, a more competitive league and better alignment between compensation and performance," said NBA Commissioner David Stern.
The contract will be in effect for the next 10 years.
The league's 66th season, which was delayed for months because of contract negotiations, will start on Christmas Day.
Earlier this year, Major League Baseball adopted a new contract that also includes language barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The National Hockey League and National Football League also prohibit harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.