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Veteran NBA Center Jason Collins: “I’m gay”

Apr 29, 2013, 11:26 AM EDT

FILE:  NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out As Gay Getty Images

Journeyman NBA center Jason Collins has come out as gay, the first active professional major team sport athlete to do so.

He wrote an article for Sports Illustrated (that hits newsstands May 6) and came out on his terms in his own words.

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….

Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively. I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.

You need to go read the entire story by him. It’s powerful. He talks about his road to discovery, coming out to his family and friends, and even that he wore No. 98 last season in honor of Mathew Shepard.

Good for Jason Collins. This is a bold and strong move.

source:  Collins is a 12-year NBA veteran, a solid defensive center who last season split time between the Celtics and Wizards. He was a high school powerhouse along with his brother Jarron, the pair went to Stanford together and took that team to the NCAA Final Four, and he has had a solid professional career where he has been the starting center on teams that made good playoff runs including making it to two NBA finals. He maybe is best known in hoops circles for being a defensive force for the Nets and providing size inside against the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and later on Chris Bosh and more.

As he says, Collins is a free agent.

This is going to bother some in the NBA community and some in locker rooms. But studies have shown that acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle is much, much higher among younger generations than older ones. And the NBA is filled with younger athletes. The general sense I’ve gotten from most players when this topic comes up is that if the guy can play, if he can contribute to a winning culture, most players don’t care what he does or who he does it with when he leaves the locker room. This isn’t a big deal to them.

I hope that is the case. I hope some team picks him up as a veteran big man off the bench and he gets a real shot next year to help a team. He is at the end of his career — teams want someone who can contribute and he can’t do a ton of that anymore — but I would hope he lands somewhere. And that this really ends up being no big deal and we can start to show that we as a society have moved past this kind of petty bigotry.

114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. bougin89 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Good for Mr. Collins. It sounds like he came out on his terms which is great. He is a pioneer of sorts, I wish him the best.

  2. kobrakai7474 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    First and foremost, I want to be very clear that. I hope someday soon we live in a world where a 12-year-old world class athlete can come out and not have it effect his (or her) career one iota. Having said that and without intending to minimize what Jason Collins has done, let’s be honest and point out that he hasn’t really risked anything. He is at the tail end of a solid career that has seen him earn millions. If, God forbid, this announcement does mark the end of Jason Collins’ career, he can live a happy comfortable life without ever having to work another minute in his life. That kind of freedom is rare, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to make this kind of announcement.

    Good for Jason Coolins. If nothing else, he has made it easier for the next generation of athletes to live a life that makes them happiest from the first day of their career rather than from the point where they are 34-year-old free agents. That, in and of itself, is a great thing and deserving of great praise and great thanks from all of us. All I am trying to day that Jason Collins’ risk is not quite at the same level as, say, Jackie Robinson.

    • j4man1 - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:00 AM

      Who is the twelve year old world class athlete?

  3. mmarzouk1 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Great for him, playing Basketball as a gay person doesn’t make you a hero nor a role model. I hope people move on and not make a huge deal out of it. Millions of gay people work regular jobs and they don’t look at themselves as heroes nor do others.

  4. 00maltliquor - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Problem is is he CAN’T play and contribute to a winning culture so if that’s the case then I’m guessing it will matter to the players! He has seen his last NBA contract, this guy has been stinking up the joint for too long.

    • theresajones187 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      wow I was going to reply but you are not worth it.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:27 AM

        What? Say it! I didn’t say anything wrong and I wasn’t blasting him for being gay or coming out! The guys been one of the worst players in the entire NBA for a very long time and him coming out doesn’t change that fact. You’re acting as if he was a H.O.F. superstar center, before this news nobody gave a damm about Jason Collins.

        Like I said before, I could care less about his sexual orientation and it does not affect the way I view or think about him as a basketball player.

        Gay people want to be treated like everybody else, not with hate or on the other side of the spectrum, with special treatment. This is the same stuff I was saying about Jason Collins BEFORE the news, and I will continue to say his game has no place taking up a roster spot AFTER. Cool you’re jets and don’t be so hyper-sensitive.

        I’m not gonna give JC special treatment and pretend he’s the reincarnation of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, like he was a basketball legend or something. I was just commenting on the second to last paragraph of the article about how players wouldn’t care if he can play contribute to a winning culture (BOS dumped him off and WAS sure as heck wasn’t a winning culture), so by that logic, is where I came up with my response….

  5. BringBackTheFlex - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Like I needed another reason to not watch basketball.

  6. 2jaylee - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Sorry but he played his last game in the nba no one is gonna sign him!

  7. mz1394 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Yep me,mike Wallace,and Cedric the entertainer all hitting up that kkk meeting you F’n IDIOT

  8. paulhargis53 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    malt,malt malt.

    Doc Rivers says he’s a good TEAM player, but you say he stinks. I will take Docs word for it…thanks.

    You’d think after what a team full of stars accomplished in la, you’d see the value in a defensive minded role player….guess you didn’t learn a damn thing.

  9. dadawg77 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    He can help a contender coming off the bench. If Juwan Howard retires, Jason can fill that spot. By all accounts he is a good guy and will know and accept his role. Now he won’t get brought in by a team building because they will rather develop a guy then him.

  10. eboneseagles - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Despite my views, good for him. Lets hope more athletes have the same courage.

  11. mrlaloosh - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    What’s really sad is that this is even newsworthy in the 21st Century.

  12. cullimon - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Obviously props to Jason for coming out. I just was hoping the man who did it would be for subtle about it, ya know? Instead of an announcement, just casually mention it and make it sound like its not a big deal

  13. dysraw1 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    brave young man in this day and time i can’t imagine this being but so hard, since it seems almost everyone is making some kind of declaration

  14. mazblast - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    He’s a journeyman, neither very good nor that bad, but obviously nearing the end of his career. Now the league office will find some team they’re ticked at and lean on them to sign this guy, and if he can’t find a job or gets cut, the usual cause people will claim it’s because he’s gay, not because he’s not that good and can’t play well anymore. I just hope he personally doesn’t fall back on the “you’re just doing that because I’m gay” routine.

    I wish him well in his career, and more importantly in his life.

  15. jiminthebay - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    98 is the 42 of basketball , huh ?

  16. cantonbound13 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Didn’t John Amechi do this first a few years ago? Good for Jason to come out but it’s sad that people have to worry about coming out. Nobody should give anyone a hard time about their sexual orientation. If someone chooses to be gay that’s their prerogative.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      Your comment reminds me not to criticize New Yorkers too much. Cosmopolitan, world class city folks are far more advanced than the provincial, country bumpkin, except in California!!!

  17. helladonks - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Love the sinner, but not the sin

  18. theresajones187 - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Now that’s what I’m talking about.

  19. purplekobra69 - Apr 29, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Whats the big deal.He’s a homo so what.

  20. jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    It’s like this: he could be lying, just like some of you with you’re comments. Just kidding. Jason Collins advances society against the weight of stodgy, scared, and narrow minded folks everywhere. The good ole USA (love it or leave it) has no monopoly on the negative: it’s a global thing. Ain’t no time to hate, especially that which we don’t understand. Two words: E.T.

  21. axelmontoya99 - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    No one will take shower with him after games

    • djwh12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Really? Anyone who fears showering with him is either insecure about their own sexuality or is flattering himself by thinking Collins would be the least bit interested in him.

    • dmgmama - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      People like you are the reason for so much bigotry in our society. You are a complete jerk. Probably don’t have many friends at all, rightfully so…

  22. axelmontoya99 - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    No one will take shower with him after games

  23. paulhargis53 - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    So, you’re saying that if he scored 22 points a game, it would mean something more? Gotcha. Nice logic. Uff.

    Axel, are you 12 years old? I hope so. If not, you are one ignorant adult.

  24. denverdude7 - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Lame-Bron is next.

  25. jpaynethemayne - May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    “i’m straight” where is my support

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