City Desk

Wizards’ Jason Collins Comes Out as First Openly Gay Active NBA Player

In a Sports Illustrated story published today, 34-year-old Wizards center Jason Collins has come out as the first openly gay athlete in a major professional sport.

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center," Collins writes. "I'm black. And I'm gay."

The Boston Celtics traded Collins to the Wizards in February and is currently a free agent, which means he could be playing somewhere else next season. Collins writes that his jersey number with both teams was a symbol of solidarity with the gay community:

My one small gesture of solidarity was to wear jersey number 98 with the Celtics and then the Wizards. The number has great significance to the gay community. One of the most notorious antigay hate crimes occurred in 1998. Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found. That same year the Trevor Project was founded. This amazing organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to kids struggling with their sexual identity. Trust me, I know that struggle. I've struggled with some insane logic. When I put on my jersey I was making a statement to myself, my family and my friends.

Collins told his story to former Sports Illustrated writer Dan Lidz a week after the Wizards' season ended, according to a Sports Illustrated story about how the magazine got the scoop.

Photo by mariselise used under a Wikimedia Commons license

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  • duh

    Good for him. That's a pretty brave thing to do. Although he might not be playing in the nba next year because he sucks. So, "active" should be used loosely. Nonetheless, he deserves a round of applause.

  • noodlez

    @duh-BRAVE??? SLIM THAT'S A REACH.

    THERE WAS NOTHING BRAVE ABOUT THIS AT ALL. HE WAS TRADED TO MY BELOVED WIZARDS WHO HASN'T BEEN RELEVANT FOR YEARS, NO PLAYING TIME AND IS CURRENTLY A FREE AGENT AT THE END OF CAREER?? HIS TIMING BASICALLY COINCIDES WITH HIS CURRENT NON-RELEVANCE IN THE ASSOCIATION.

    THIS IS A NON STORY BECAUSE OF HIS CURRENT STATUS!
    FORMER PLAYER IN NFL ANNOUNCES SOMETIME BACK. AND???
    LOOK THIS WILL ONLY LAST 24HR NEWS CYCLE.
    THIS WILL ONLY AFFECT HIS FAMILY.

    MY QUESTION IS WHY DID HE ALSO ANNOUNCE THAT HE IS BLACK?
    DIDN'T QUITE UNDERSTAND THAT ONE??
    WHEN A 5 STAR, HIGH SCHOOLER, ONE AND DONE LETS THE WORLD KNOW HE LOVES MEN THEN WAKE ME UP.

    THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS.
    MOVE ALONG.

  • duh

    @noodlez, i didn't know you were the arbiter of what constitutes bravery. My apologies.

  • noodlez

    I'M NOT BUT BY DEFINITION HE ISN'T!

    CHAMP DOING THIS ON THE BACK END OF(AT BEST)A MEDIOCRE BASKETBALL CAREER SHOWS HIS HEART TRULY WASN'T IN IT.

    HE CHOSE HIS BASKETBALL TEAM ABOVE HIS GAY TEAM ALL THESE YEARS AND NOW HE DECIDES TO PRONOUNCE HIS LIFESTYLE AND WHO HE REALLY IS WHEN IT WILL NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS. THE SYMBOLIC NATURE OF HIS STORY IS COOL BUT THAT "BRAVE" SHIT IS TAKING IT A BIT FAR!

    THE SAD PART IS FOLK ARE GOING TO GET SO CAUGHT UP ON HIS S.I. STORY AND MISS THE WHOLE DAMN THING!

  • duh

    @noodlez, i don't disagree that he waited a while. but, i think you've got to consider the context a little bit. i don't think it would be that easy to have done what he did ten or fifteen years ago and expect to get a contract next year. who knows, maybe you're right, maybe he knows he won't play at all. he is a bum on the court who has become an old rony turiaf. can't score, can't rebound.

    i'm not saying that he's rosa parks, but he could've just laid back and retired and not gone on the cover of SI. Think of the shit he's going to catch if he ever plays again.

  • noodlez

    I HONESTLY DON'T THINK HE WILL OR WOULD HAVE. WE HAD A GAY TEAMATE ON MY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM. EVERYONE KNEW HE WAS WE RAZZED HIM A LITTLE BUT IF ANYONE TEASED HIM THEY WOULD HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE TEAM.

    THIS SHIT SO TIRED AND OVERBLOWN!

  • Ward-8

    Kudos; Noodlez, you summed it up perfectly, Why is this big news, lately for some odd reason, every time some one announce He or She is gay, the Media and LBGT appears to want the world to stop and celebrate and afford them another excuse to demand acceptance or one is label homophobic, its way pass time to get over this and move on, if that's one preference so be it, stop trying to demand and arm twist the world in to acceptance.

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