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Jason Collins Becomes First Active US Pro Athlete to Admit He’s Gay

Jason Collins
Getty Images

Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, who spent this past season with the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics, has announced he is gay.

He is the first-ever active pro athlete in US sports to come out of the closet.

In a piece in Sports Illustrated, Collins says simply, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

A graduate of Stanford who played in the Final Four, Collins says he had no intention of becoming any sort of trailblazer:

“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, 34, was an All-American in 2000-2001 while at Stanford who was later drafted 18th overall by the Houston Rockets in 2001 before being traded to the New Jersey Nets. He’s averaged 3.6 per game during a career in which he’s played for six teams.

His twin brother, Jarron, played with him at Stanford, and was in the NBA until 2011. Jarron says he’s there for his brother, noting, “At the end of the day, this is what matters: He’s my brother, he’s a great guy, and I want him to be happy. I’ll love him and I’ll support him and, if necessary, I’ll protect him.”

It remains to be seen how Collins’ announcement is received by others, but, so far, early indications are all positive. It’s also unclear whether Collins’ decision to reveal his homosexuality will have any impact on a team signing him for next season.

Collins’ revelation is the latest breakthrough among homosexuals in the sports world. In 2007, retired NBA player John Amaechi revealed in his memoir that he was gay, making him the first former player in the league to go public with his sexuality.

And earlier this month, Baylor women’s basketball story Brittney Griner said she’s gay.

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