SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – After more than 35 years and hundreds of players, the San Francisco Gay Basketball Association shows no signs of slowing down.

Diversity, inclusion and buckets are all hallmarks of the association, one of the longest continuously-operating gay basketball leagues in the world.

Tony Jasinski said he founded the league for a very simple reason: “because I wanted to play too.”

Since 1986, Jasinski has created a place where everyone can get in the game.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re gay and that it’s totally irrelevant to your sexuality,” Jasinski said.

It started at a gym in the Haight. In 1989 they moved to the Eureka Valley Rec Center in the Castro.

While the cornerstone of the association is basketball, Jasinski said as it’s lasted becomes it’s more than that.

“It’s the comfort of being friends with these people,” Jasinski said. “You really feel close to them. You go to parties with them. You go to bars with them.”

Between rising rent costs and COVID-19, the league has lost members over the past few years, but League Commissioner J.J. Suddreth is determined to keep it going.  

He first joined the league 10 years ago when he moved to San Francisco from a small town.

“Knowing that there were gay basketball leagues was kind of a mind blow for me but I was able to find community right away because of that,” Suddreth said.

Suddreth knows how valuable the league can be for people looking for a community, like player Justin White.

“It was just a relief,” White said. “It was just like ‘Oh, I can be myself, I can play basketball. It was really good to find a home.'”

SFGBA leaders say they are proud to play in tournaments on a national and international level, and have won multiple medals.  

But they’re even more proud of welcoming people from all walks of life regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.