Jason Collins has broken the pro sports gay barrier.
The 34-year-old NBA player has come out in an announcement to Sports Illustrated, making him the first male athlete still active in America’s four major professional sports to be openly gay.
Collins is a free agent who ended last season with the Washington Wizards after being traded by the Boston Celtics.
He told Sports Illustrated: “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.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement Collins’ announcement:
“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.”