There’s a twinkle in his eyes, a mischievous grin that crosses Reggie Bullock’s face whenever he talks about his late sister Mia Henderson. It’s the look of a proud little brother who has countless fond memories of his sister who loved to attend church and especially adored their grandmother. 

Growing up, Henderson was Bullock’s brother and then later became a transgender woman. Henderson was the eldest of five siblings and three and a half years older than Reggie. Their grandmother was a minister, and everyone in their small town referred to the youngsters as the “Williams kids.” 

Even to this day, Bullock can still smell the floral perfume that lingered in the air and bounced from the red pulpit and old wooden pews. He especially recalls how his sister was fond of Sundays because she led the praise and dance team in front of the congregation. Henderson always came alive when she performed. 

“I remember a lot of her church performances,” Bullock said. “But there’s one specific one that sticks with me. When I close my eyes, that’s the memory I’m trying to bring back. I just remember this one moment, where Mia was in front of the pulpit, and she just went running and twirling like a ballet dancer up and down the aisle of the church.”

The family was originally from Baltimore but moved to Kinston, North Carolina, when the kids were little. Bullock loved his entire family and had a special affinity towards Mia and his other sister, Kiosha. As they grew, there was plenty of joy and lots of laughter. 

On NBA Draft Night in July 2013, the family rented out a small gym at the community center in Kinston. Everyone watched the TV together and Bullock can still remember Mia’s face that night when his name was called.

“I’ll never forget it,” he said. “Just knowing what I was going to be able to do for our family now, I just looked at her, and I could see on her face that pride.”

Everything seemed to be on the upswing for the family until tragedy struck one year later. 

On July 16, 2014, Henderson was tragically found stabbed to death in an alley in West Baltimore. She was only 26 years old. Bullock outlines his memories from that fateful day in The Players’ Tribune.

Bullock’s younger sister Kiosha moved in with him and they worked towards healing, but grief is a slow process and takes time. The duo eventually found joy in basketball arenas and Kiosha loved to travel to Reggie’s games. She would sit near the front and celebrated as her brother lived out his dreams. They also worked hard to understand more of Mia’s life in the years that followed. 

Then in October 2019 tragedy struck yet again. This time it was Bullock’s beloved sister, Kiosha, who was shot and killed at just the age of 22. 

Bullock’s life would never be the same, and now he’s on a mission to keep his sisters’ lives at the forefront. He says they both lived with magnificent purpose and he will continue to say their names and tell their stories. 

This March 31, Bullock especially desires for the NBA community to pause and focus on the trans community — especially Black transgender women, like Mia, who are the most at-risk and die to senseless violence at alarming rates each year. In fact, recent studies show that over 90 percent of transgenders killed each year are women of color. 

Bullock says it’s essential for him to use his platform as a professional athlete to advocate equal rights and visibility for the LGBTQ community. 

“I know my sister is looking down on me now, loving everything that I’m doing for her and the community,” Bullock said. “This is only the beginning; I want to continue to keep it going. I feel like these types of things that happen to this community shouldn’t be happening. We all are one, and I feel like there should be a lot more love.”


The Dallas Mavericks honored International Transgender Day of Visibility on Thursday, March 31, to celebrate transgender and non-binary people, raise awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, and celebrate their many contributions to society. 

The Biden administration also announced this week that beginning April 11, the federal government will allow Americans to choose “X” for gender on their passport applications and will make it easier for people to change their gender information on their Social Security cards.

Thursday night in Dallas, the Mavericks aired the latest session of the HUDDLE, and Bullock joined Leslie McMurray from Resource Center and Stephanie Houston, who serves as executive director of the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation. The video was pre-recorded with the Mavericks still on the road this week. The franchise also hosted a live watch party to view the latest HUDDLE.  

The timing of the event is important. In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign recorded the highest number of fatalities in a single year for the transgender community, and according to USA Today, “the violence disproportionately impacted Black transgender women.”

Bullock and Stephanie Houston both lost Black transgender family members in recent years. Houston’s daughter, Muhlaysia, was killed in May 2019 and her death went viral. Houston later founded the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation in her daughter’s memory and to serve transgender women and their families. 

During the HUDDLE, Houston told Bullock and McMurray the story of how her then-teenage son blurted out in the car one day that he was going to live his life as a woman now. Her daughter later walked into her 18th birthday party wearing women’s clothes.

Just like Bullock, Houston also came from a Christian home and grappled with how to handle her daughter’s transition. Interestingly, the game of basketball actually was a part of Houston’s story, too.

“My daughter stuck with the name Muhlaysia because she loved Malaysia [Pargo] on Basketball Wives,” Houston said. “She came to [her 18th party] and she was dressed up and I had to learn the terminology because gay and trans are two different things to them. So I became educated and learned a lot. At first, no, I wasn’t accepting at all, but as time went by, her passion for standing up for herself, that’s what drove me to respect it. She would not answer if you called her by her deadname and she distanced herself and demanded respect.”

McMurray, from Resource Center, explained to the audience how the term “deadname” means someone’s birth name or even a nickname they used before transitioning. Acknowledging the new name honors and respects the person and their identities.

North Texas-based Resource Center is a trusted leader that empowers the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQIA+) communities and all people affected by HIV through improving health and wellness, strengthening families and communities and providing transformative education and advocacy.

Bullock and Houston said they continue to learn more and seek to educate themselves in hopes of remaining strong advocates and allies for the these communities. This is an ongoing process, compounded with the trauma of losing a loved one to violence.

Now, just like Bullock, Houston keeps her daughter’s memory alive by telling her story and providing outreach with the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation [to donate and learn more, click here].

During the HUDDLE, the trio illuminated the struggles within the trans community and explained how allies can provide protection and partnership. Visibility and inclusion is also important. 

“It’s hard for you to walk around without people saying, ‘Oh, so you play basketball,’” McMurray said to Bullock, explaining what it means to be stereotyped, whether as an athlete or transgender person.

“But there’s a whole lot more to being a basketball player and a whole big part of your life that people aren’t privy to. It makes up who Reggie is. So that’s what we kind of get sometimes. We’re the transgender friend rather than the friend.” 

McMurray was an exceptional host and moderator of the HUDDLE, providing the audience with practical education to help everyone better understand the transgender community.

Throughout the session, Bullock shared stories about his sister Mia and talked about why it’s important for him to use his NBA and Dallas Mavericks platform to keep his sister’s story alive. He’s always been open and proud to tell MFFLs more about her.

“I support the LGBTQ because, obviously, of what happened to my sister, Mia Henderson,” Bullock said. “She was pretty much one of the backbones in my family, and it was very important for me to use my platform to be able to stand up for her rights.”

A suspect was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Henderson’s death. But that suspect was acquitted in January of 2017, another painful blow for Bullock’s family. The agony of enduring a trial presents an entire new sort of obstacles and it’s especially traumatic for the family when perpetrators walk free. 

In shining a light on what his sister experienced, Bullock has volunteered to train transgender and gay youths to navigate the dark times while trying to live their lives the way they want to. While a member of the New York Knicks, he also rode on the LGBTQ NBA float during the New York City LGBTQ Pride March.

More than anything, in retrospect, Bullock spends some of his idle time trying to understand what was going on in his sister’s life before she became transgender and was killed at age 26.

“I really didn’t know what was going through her life to make her change over that way,” he said. “Now that she’s gone, it’s very important for me and the platform that I have to be able to stand up for her rights and understand that those things are going on in the world and it’s people like myself who could possibly slow down that roll.

“And that is my platform — to bring awareness to it. It’s all about awareness, and it’s important for my family, too.”

During the latest HUDDLE session, he delved into the importance of education and how he’s still growing and learning, too. 

“I’ll continue to keep doing my part as an ally,” Bullock said. “I’ll continue to keep using my platform to gain more knowledge on it and continue to link with foundations and groups. Love is in my heart…and hopefully, things continue to get better for the trans and LGBTQ community.” 


Reggie Bullock understands it’s immensely important for him to stand in the gap and be the connector when he talks to gay and transgender teens and young adults. He knows some of the kids are probably experiencing untold stress, and he wants to be a comforting sounding board in their time of need.

“I went up to a school in New York when I was playing there, and it was pretty much a school where a lot of these people that’s maybe in the closet that don’t know how to come out (of the closet) to their parents,” Bullock said. “So just seeing (an NBA) player like myself come in there and be super relevant with them, they understood that I’m a human being, things like this happened to me, so just be yourself and stand up for what you believe in.”

Bullock acknowledged that’s the way his sister lived her life. Henderson wore her emotions on her sleeves, with Bullock saying he admired “just her strength that she had. She always wanted to be herself.

“She always had that same mindset, too, as myself – it is what it is type of mindset. She was loving, she was caring, and she was a dancer too, and I definitely loved all that about her.”

Bullock is active in many charities including NBA Voices for LGBTQ Youth and Allies. He also has been honored during the GLAAD Media Awards.

“That (GLAAD Media Awards) was very big,” Bullock said. “It was big for my family just being able to be pretty much one of the players on the forefront of the LGBTQ community.”

GLAAD is an advocacy group that champions LGBTQ causes.

As far as the NBA Voices for LGBT Youth and Allies is concerned, Bullock noted that: “The NBA has been my biggest help with helping me brand out what I wanted to do to help my sister out and keep her name alive. That’s what I’m out here doing and just trying to continue to do it.”

Bullock has acknowledged over the years that grief isn’t linear and losing both sisters has brought his family unprecedented trauma. 

A God-fearing man and full of faith, Bullock now has a set of young twin boys. And he’s doing his best to fill them up with unconditional love.

But he knows the sheer pain of losing his two sisters will forever be something that’s challenging to overcome.

“I think that’s probably one of the main reasons why God blessed me back with twins,” the 31-year old Bullock told “He saw how much of a help I’ve been to my family and how much of a help I’ve been to everyone around me.

“Twins run in my family, but right now in life, I didn’t expect that I would be having twins. For that to happen that way, I felt like it was a true calling from God – pretty much replacing back what I lost back with strength from my two boys, so it’s good.”

And with that strength from his twins, Bullock plans to continue fighting the fight and getting involved with LGBTQ+ rights during his tenure with the Mavs. 

He said being a voice for the Black transgender community is especially important.  

“The love is there, but I still feel like we’re not knowledgeable with a lot of the things that happen for Black trans,” Bullock said. “I had to get woke to it. I was jokingly saying things back in the day to my sister. But once I understood it, I felt a different type of way. But it was all love from the beginning. We lack knowledge. I want to continue to do my part.” 

Bullock stresses that both Mia and Kiosha will always be in his heart. His business in Kinston is also named Mi Kiosha to honor both sisters.

Their spirits continue to live on and they propel Reggie to push forward and create purpose both on and off the basketball court. 

“I wish things were different,” Bullock said. “I wish I still had my sisters here. But no matter what, nobody can ever take away the memories I have of the good times we had. The joy, the laughter. Those are mine.”

Bullock noted that the NBA community has been outstanding since he started speaking up for the transgender and LGBTQ+ communities.

“I understand the power we have as athletes,” Bullock said. “I’ve been getting a lot of love and it’s only to the top from here.”


To watch the entire HUDDLE video featuring Dallas Mavericks star Reggie Bullock, along with Leslie McMurray from The Resource Center and Stephanie Houston with the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation, click here.

The HUDDLE is a courageous conversation series as part of the Mavs Take ACTION! plan launched in 2020 to address racial inequities and promote social justice in the North Texas community. 

It is a gathering that creates a safe space for dialogue and the opportunity for individuals to learn and unite with a diverse group of current and former Dallas Mavericks players, team representatives and community figures to eliminate racial divides, uplift communities, and empower future generations.

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