In an article in Sports Illustrated magazine, Collins became the first openly gay athlete in one of the big-four American team sports to come out as an active player.
Collins, most recently a player for the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics, wrote: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay. 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.”
He added hat his final motivation for coming out was being unable to participate in the Boston gay pride parade last year.
Immediately John Amaechi, who came out on his retirement in 2007, tweeted: “Congratulations to Jason – society couldn’t hope for a more eloquent & positive role model.”
Billie Jean King, the former tennis great, said: "This is a day of celebration for the LGBT community and for all of us. I look forward to the day when the news of anyone coming out, is a non-issue and once we reach that point we will know we have arrived.
Lustralboy welcomes this First Major American Sports Hero Coming Out. How great if it opens the floodgates. And we agree with Billie Jean.
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