Jason Collins, an NBA free agent, on
Monday announced he's gay.
“I'm a 34-year-old NBA center,”
Collins told Sports Illustrated. “I'm black. And I'm gay.
I didn't set out to be the first 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
NBA commissioner David Stern said he
was proud of Collins.
“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,” Stern
said in a statement.
After being traded by the Boston
Celtics, Collins ended last season with the Washington Wizards.
Nike, with whom Collins has an endorsement
deal, also issued a statement of support: “Jason is a Nike athlete.
We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion.”
Collins said that the Boston Marathon
bombings played an important part in his decision to come out
“Things can change in an instant, so
why not live truthfully?”
He added that he'll march in June with
his former Stanford roommate Congressman Joe Kennedy, who is
straight, in Boston's Gay Pride Parade.
“When I told Joe a few weeks ago that
I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join
him in 2013. We'll be marching on June 8,” he said.