Sports equality history was made recently when twelve-year NBA veteran Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete to come out while still playing a major American sport.
Collins played center for the Boston Celtics this past season before being traded to the Washington Wizards for guard Jordan Crawford. Collins is an unsigned free agent heading into next season, and will need a new contract offer if his playing career is to continue.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” Collins told Sports Illustrated. “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.”
“Collins writes [in Sports Illustrated] that he first thought about coming out in 2011, during the NBA lockout,” reports SBNation. “That period of his life ‘wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want,’ he writes. At that point, he confronted his aunt to tell her the news.
He then thought about coming out publicly after a college roommate [Massachusetts representative Joseph Kennedy] marched in the 2012 Boston Gay Pride parade. Collins was playing for the Celtics at the time. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing convinced him that the time was right, which prompted the news.”