Jason Collins came out as gay yesterday, a huge step forward for American sports at large. Even at the tail end of his career now, he's likely the most well-known, active player to come out in the United States. Here's Collins writing in Sports Illustrated:
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.
The outpouring of support for Collins from every corner of the NBA -- coaches to players to stars to the commissioner(s) -- has just been tremendous. It remains to be seen what fan reaction will be next season (once Collins finds a new team), but the early signs are very, very positive. And that makes me extremely happy.
Super neat. The first athlete to come out in one of the major American sports was always going to be a huge, important step for sports. It's fantastic that that sport happened to be basketball, and the fact that Collins has been received so positively by his peers is heartening indeed.