Jason Collins Comes Out As First Openly Gay Player
Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has become the first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay. The baller revealed his sexuality in an interview with Sports Illustrated:
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.
Why did he choose to come out now?
Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.
When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.
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.”
Once the news broke, Jason got tons of support from celebs on Twitter including one of the presidential kind from former President Bill Clinton whose daughter Chelsea was a former classmate of the baller.
I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. wjcf.co/154piCi—
Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 29, 2013
Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA. bit.ly/ZLei9F—
Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 29, 2013
Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 29, 2013
So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!—
Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) April 29, 2013
Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
Jason's sexuality doesn't change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate. @jasoncollins34—
Jason Kidd (@RealJasonKidd) April 29, 2013
So proud of you Jason! I can’t wait for the day when this doesn’t even have to be a story. Let’s hope more players are inspired by you to have to courage to be themselves! You are definitely a trailblazer!
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