Jason Collins, a 12-year N.B.A. veteran, has come out as the first openly gay male athlete still active in a major American team sport.
“I’m a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I’m black and I’m gay,” Collins writes in the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated. The magazine published the article online Monday morning.
The announcement makes Collins a pioneer of sorts: the first player in the N.B.A., the N.F.L., the N.H.L. or Major League Baseball to come out while still pursuing his career. Other gay athletes, including the former N.B.A. center John Amaechi, have waited until retirement to divulge their sexuality publicly.
If nothing else this is a welcome change.
The announcement followed recent decisions by two other prominent athletes — the American soccer player Robbie Rogers and the women’s basketball player Brittney Griner — to acknowledge that they are gay. When Rogers, 25, revealed last month that he is gay he also said he was retiring from soccer. (He has since indicated he may play again.) Griner, the No. 1 pick in the W.N.B.A. draft, will soon embark on her professional career.
Collins, who split this season between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, will become a free agent on July 1. He intends to pursue another contract in the summer, which may serve as a test for how N.B.A. teams respond to the announcement.
IOW, this WILL be on the Final.
In his essay, Collins alludes to the situation, writing: “I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.”
Bien Sur !
Collins’s decision drew widespread praise and admiration across the athletic and political realms on social media. While it remains unclear how he will be perceived by strangers, N.B.A. executives looking for a bench player for next season, or even by potential teammates, he received unequivocal public support from those around the league.
On Twitter, the Lakers star Kobe Bryant wrote: “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.” Bryant added two hashtags: “courage” and “support.”
Martina Navratilova, the openly gay former tennis player, viewed the news in a broad context. She believes Collins’s announcement will impact people he will never meet.
“That was the first thing I thought: this is going to save some kids’ lives,” Navratilova said. “That’s brilliant. When you can affect people in such a positive way by being true to yourself, it’s amazing.”
Collins had simply grown tired. Tired of being alone; tired of coming home to an empty house; tired of relying on Shadow, his German shepherd, for company; tired of watching friends and family members find spouses and become parents; tired of telling lies and half-truths — “cover stories like a CIA spy,” he says with his distinctive cackle — to conceal that he’s gay. He was also tired of … being tired. For most of his life, he’s had trouble sleeping, which he attributes to struggles with his sexuality.
A Hottie like this can’t get a date? Truly shocking.
As for his future, everybody’s favorite gay nerd Nate Silver
thinks according to the numbers a man of Collins age and experience might have trouble getting a job. . .or maybe not
Eleven of eighteen did, or 61 percent. The odds have been slightly in favor of their extending their careers, in other words — but they are also treated as expendable commodities.
In some ways, that makes Mr. Collins’s decision to come out much braver. He would hardly have been guaranteed a job next year, regardless of his sexual orientation. If N.B.A. teams discriminate against him at all for being gay, that could keep him on the sidelines.
At the same time, this will represent only one data point. My concern is that if no team signs Mr. Collins, it may incorrectly be deemed as a referendum on whether the league is willing to employ an openly gay player — when players in Mr. Collins’s position see their N.B.A. careers end fairly often for all sorts of reasons.
Alternatively, if a team does sign him, it may be incorrectly dismissed as a publicity stunt — when 7-footers who can provide some rebounding and defense off the bench often play well into their thirties.
As a pure basketball decision, it looks like a pretty close call. Here’s hoping that the league will evaluate Mr. Collins on the basis of his basketball production and skills, and not his sexuality.
I’m rooting for his sexuality. Especially in light of THIS
Yes he’s GOING TO HELL!!
And we all know what that means, don’t we?
Sing us out dudes