GOOD SPORTS

NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out As Gay

130429104012-jason-collins-profile-single-image-cutIt’s finally happened. NBA player Jason Collins has become the first openly gay athlete from a major American team sport. The 34-year-old  Washington Wizards center writes candidly about his sexual orientation  in the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated.

“I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different,’” he said. “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

He writes that the tragic Boston bombings convinced him to come out now. “Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”

Collins writes about the impact his coming out is likely to have:

“I go against the gay stereotype, which is why I think a lot of players will be shocked: That guy is gay? But I’ve always been an aggressive player, even in high school. Am I so physical to prove that being gay doesn’t make you soft? Who knows? That’s something for a psychologist to unravel. My motivations, like my contributions, don’t show up in box scores, and frankly I don’t care about stats. Winning is what counts. I want to be evaluated as a team player.”

In the essay, he also addresses how straight allies in the pro sports world made his decision easier.

I’m glad I’m coming out in 2013 rather than 2003. The climate has shifted; public opinion has shifted. And yet we still have so much farther to go. Everyone is terrified of the unknown, but most of us don’t want to return to a time when minorities were openly discriminated against. I’m impressed with the straight pro athletes who have spoken up so far — Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo. The more people who speak out, the better, gay or straight. It starts with President Obama’s mentioning the 1969 Stonewall riots, which launched the gay rights movement, during his second inaugural address. And it extends to the grade-school teacher who encourages her students to accept the things that make us different.

NFL, you’ve been served.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gaysports #jasoncollins #nba stories and more

37 Comments

  • Charlie in Charge

    That’s an incredibly thoughtful coming out.

  • tardis

    Whoa. This is going to cause a storm…hopefully it starts a dialogue within the sports community. Good for him. Being in the closet, or not being able to be open about who you are must be extremely difficult. I hope the NFL takes note!

  • Aric

    This literally just happened.

    We haven’t even begun to see the scope of what this will truly mean. The rest of this week with comments from fellow players, comedians chiming in, and companies showing support (As well as people being negative) will be huge.

    Congrats Jason, you are officially a beacon for my generation, us who are barely 20 years old thank you for leading the way.

  • orcanyc

    Thanks Jason for such a brave move and congratulations.

  • Homophile

    Jodie Foster, Anderson Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Queen Latifah et al… take note; this is what a hero to our community looks like.

  • jamal49

    Jason, Thank you for your courage and don’t worry about a thing.

    Not only have you gained many new fans, the gay community’s got your back.

  • Kieran

    Anything that goes against stereotypes is a good thing in my book. It will be interesting to see how much coverage this coming out story gets in the media. A gay guy who is indistinguishable from the other NBA players? That can be very disturbing for heteroes. It plays with their heads.

  • Kwei

    This is really great. I admire the courage. I’m going directly to Twitter/FB to see if he has a page where we can publicly support him.

  • Victor_in_PA

    I’m extremely impressed and I don’t even like basketball! I think I just became a Celtics fan though. I’m sure that there will be the typical stuff like pickets of Celtics games and the NBA by Fred Phelps and the crew but, that’s ok. I think we just won the war. Nice to live to see the tide finally changing. And a BIG thanks to the straight athletes that put themselves out there to help. We can do anything together once we get past the stereotypes. This makes me very proud on a bunch of different levels.

  • erikwm

    Am I the only one who thinks this will be forgotten in a few weeks time?

    I think it’s courageous, but since Collins was not a star before the announcement, it’s not likely to hold the public’s attention for very long. There is also the possibility that as a 34 year old free agent, he might not be playing in the NBA next season.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    He actually timed this perfectly from both an awareness and recruiting standpoint! I personally think there will be a bidding war among NBA teams to recruit him – even if he’s entering the tail-end of his basketball career. It’s good PR for the team and professional sports in general!

    Bravo to Jason!!

  • Hansolo

    My hero

  • dugout

    This was really well coordinated PR wise, The Phil Jackson controversy to today it’s some promotion with the hateful controversy turned down and people trying to make sensible conversation instead of hating on each other. Sports guys, I’m not a fan, so the “celebrity” aspect is annoying…it’s about something that a bench guy did in pure basketball/business terms at the next practice, right? Life goes on but Mr. Collins figures out the win. It’s so damn epic. He’s a ball player, not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Sorry to the guy I ripped that line from. All you comedian bastards are so tag oriented. I lose track of who is it all the time, like life, sports….ummmm this post.)

  • Kwei

    @erikwm: In some ways, that aspect of it not being such a big deal might be a good thing. We can gradually ease into one of the mega-stars coming out!

  • technicolornina

    @GayTampaCowboy: You make an excellent point. There’s also this: what makes a “star”? They don’t just walk onto the (field, court, diamond, etc.), they have to do something to get noticed. Sometimes it’s how they play, sometimes it’s something else (speaking as a 24-year-old: I’m sure Larry Bird did something other than be a total hothead to be remembered, but that’s all I know of him). And sometimes, the something else makes people look, and go “holy shite, son, he’s good!”

    Let’s hope this last is the case with Mr. Collins.

  • frscottwest

    All that I can say, is GO JASON!

  • Charles175

    Jason stated: “I go against the gay stereotype, which is why I think a lot of players will be shocked: That guy is gay?

    No one could ask for a better way for the first professional athlete to come out. How sweet this is! At 7 feet and 255 lbs he’s a nice looking guy to boot.

  • kevininbuffalo

    So while the four NFL players are playing rock, paper, scissors to see who goes first Jason beats ’em all to the punch! Good for him!
    I like the fact that he’s not the stereotype, we come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and types. It’s about time the media and the public recognize this.
    Congratulations Jason!

  • DOFEK

    Jason, sweetheart you are sweet great fantastic hot sexy and SMART!. Love you! love you! love you!. Adam the biggest HOMO in the world.

  • Dixie Rect

    This is lovely!

  • daniwitz13

    @Charlie in Charge: ALL of you are kidding, right? This guy, 34 years old, on six teams, 12 years, and just told his TWIN brother he is gay. Well so much for being born that way. Totally unknown to ALL of them. To “claim being born that way would imply plain and obvious, right? Not so, he has to after 34 years of his life, 12 years with team mates, he has to come “OUT” to be known and recognized. Surprise, surprise. 12 years playing did not bother him as a Gay, why the NEED to state it now? Is he saying that he was a fraud all those years? He “claims” that he is Gay, but can he prove it? NO. Homosexuality CANNOT be proven in the individual. More of a fool to come out with no proof. Pity.

  • Homophile

    @daniwitz13:

    “More of a fool to come out with no proof.”

    I think you’re the fool, I can’t understand any of the crap you just posted.

    Worry less about LBGT issues and more about how you can better yourself. From what I’ve seen, you have a lot of work to do.

  • balehead

    He comes out as he basically retires…..how is this news?…..

  • balehead

    Why is it taking so long for a male athelte at his peak to come out….It’s all about money…

  • Homophile

    @balehead:

    “basically retires”

    He’s not retiring, he’s a free agent who would like to continue playing.

    “how is this news?” Are you trolling or just ignorant?

  • erikwm

    @daniwitz13: Prove to me that you’re right or left handed — and no, I don’t mean by picking up a pen. Prove to me scientifically that there is a cause to the effect and that 92% of humans don’t simply choose to be right handed.

    Because much like human sexuality, current scientific thought can’t explain the precise biological mechanisms behind human handedness, either.

    Now tell me — is ignorance really bliss? Because you’re certainly ignorant.

  • tjr101

    @daniwitz13: Prove to us that you’re not a dumbass after that post!

  • Selecta2

    Bravo to him for making this public a disclosure, and so thoughtfully done.

    But one questions the timing. Yes, he is at the tail-end of a 12 year career, and a free agent to boot, and his coming out lands him a sponsorship deal with Nike, one he hardly would have gotten playing ball.

    But hey. Still courageous, just now only more lucrative. :)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/nike-jason-collins-endorsement_n_3179634.html

  • Sebizzar

    Wow! My day has been made :D

    Go Jason! He’s hott too lol ;)

  • LadyL

    More power to you, Jason–ignore the skeptics, haters and trolls. I’m proud for and of you and wish you (and the lucky guy who wins your heart) all the best!

  • Cyn

    Comes out, basically retires. Who else has done that, even if it’s true?

  • Joetx

    Congrats, Jason! The first gay male athlete to come out while still playing in 1 of the Big 3 (4 if you count hockey) sports. And, if you think about it, it’s tougher in the NBA b/c fans are right on the court.

  • DOFEK

    @Cyn:(you are stupid!) That is not the end of the road! it`s just the begin!. AdamHomo

  • miagoodguy

    Glad he came out when he felt ready, but part of me wonders if he came out as a way to help him be signed by a team next year. He was basically near the end of his effective playing years and his coming out might be useful as political tool. It would look bad for the NBA in general if no team signs him now, even if they wouldn’t have signed him before. This is a player that this past year average 1.1pts per game, 1.6 rebounds per game, and is 35yrs of age (average age of NBA players is 27 and average age of retirement is 32). It is still a good thing though, but there is reasons to think there are other motives on his part.

  • sissyterry

    i am a 49 yo gwm. when i was about 25 i told a group of my fraternity brothers i was gay & everyone whom i thought was a true friend, turned their back on me. i applaud this young man for his courage, i thought it was getting more tolerant back then, but boy was i wrong, i does seem to get a little better every new generation, good for u jason collins!! by the way, i am also a twin & have never spoken about this to any of my family members, we just dont talk about things like that!! u r very lucky to have such great family & friends, the world is a very cruel & lonely place for everyone, but when u r gay & r not accepted by others it is by far the most lonely & sad place to be!! i hope u have very happy & joy filled life, i had my chance & it did not happen for me, but i am so very happy for u!! p.s. u r an incredibly handsome & weel spoken young man, u will go very far, hopefully far beyond ur wildest dream, & ur twin bro is also smoking hot!! LOL!!

Comments are closed.