NBA center Jason Collins announced that he’s gay in a story for Sports Illustrated, becoming the first active player in a major American team sport to announce that he’s gay.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
Collins is a respected veteran who has played for six teams over 12 seasons.
In his SI article, Collins said his final motivation for coming out was being unable to participate in a gay pride parade in Boston in 2012:
“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating, but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, ‘Me, too.'”
Collins has a twin brother, Jarron, who also played in the NBA. Jason says he didn’t come out to Jarron until last year, and he was “astounded.”
He described how he lived a “double life,” even getting engaged at one point. Now he can finally be true to the world and more importantly, true to himself.
Plenty of people have started voicing their support for Collins:
The Washington Wizards said in a statement, “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”
And Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeted: “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others. #courage #support”.
Mixed Nation believes in equality for all. We salute Jason for his bravery and wish him all of the best!
Here’s the SI cover: