Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who played in 34 games for the Celtics this season, came out as gay in a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
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"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," the 34-year-old center wrote.
Collins's twin brother, Jarrod, tweeted a thinly veiled message of encouragement early Monday morning, right before the story was published.
You never know what a new day brings. Hope everyone has a good week and is able to handle the challenges and obstacles that they may face.
— jarron collins (@jarronctwin) April 29, 2013
New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis also sent his support to Collins via Twitter.
— Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis) April 29, 2013
After the story broke, NBA Commissioner David Stern released a statement of support for Collins:
“As (deputy commissioner) Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and (twin brother) 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.”
Former President Bill Clinton also offered his support to the NBA veteran: "Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community," Clinton wrote. "
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked if the White House had a comment on the day's landmark announcement, said he had not spoken with President Barack Obama about it. But Carney did say the announcement was "another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place in this country." Here's the video:
Collins has played for six teams in his 12-year NBA careers. He was traded to the Washington Wizards by the Celtics earlier this season for guard Jordan Crawford. He averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds while he was with the Celtics and started in seven games.
Sports Illustrated also published a behind-the-story of Collins's piece, which will appear in the May 6 issue of the magazine.