NBA's Jason Collins: I'm Gay

First active American pro athlete to come out

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 29, 2013 11:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Free agent NBA center Jason Collins came out of the closet today, in a cover story op-ed for Sports Illustrated that makes him the first active NBA player—and the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport—to do so. "I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying 'I'm different,'" he writes. "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this." Collins isn't a star, but he is a veteran—he's played for six teams over 12 years, and says there's a running "Three Degrees of Jason Collins" gag in NBA locker rooms.

He says he struggled for years first to accept that he was gay, and to keep it a secret. "The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait" any longer, he writes. "Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?" He isn't sure how fans or fellow players will react, but he intends to "lead by example and show that gay players are no different from straight ones." And he suspects being honest will make him happier. "Some people insist they've never met a gay person," he concludes, "But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore." Click for Collins' full piece.

Then-Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collins (34) goes up for a shot against Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) during the first quarter of an NBA Basketball game Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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As far as the reaction of fans, I don't mind if they heckle me. I've been booed before. There have been times when I've wanted to boo myself. But a lot of ill feelings can be cured by winning. - Jason Collins

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. - Jason Collins

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