NBA player Jason Collins has announced that he is gay in the story for Sports Illustrated.
Collins is the first American player to come out in team sports.
“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,” Collins wrote. “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.”
In a statement, NBA commissioner David Stern said: As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”
Other NBA personalities have taken to Twitter, supporting Collins’ coming out. Highlighted by Kobe Bryant.
“Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU,” Bryant tweeted.
Collins, 34 is currently a free agent, he ended last season with the Washington Wizards after being traded by the Boston Celtics.
Washington president Ernie Grunfeld issued a statement on behalf of the team:
“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.”