BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — NBA player Jason Collins became the first active male professional athlete in the four major American sports to come out as gay on Monday.
Collins came out in a first-person account posted on Sports Illustrated’s website.
The 34-year-old has played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons.
He says he wants to continue playing and wishes he was not the first to come out while playing in a professional sports league.
“I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” Former President Bill Clinton said in a statement released on Monday.
Collins, who was drafted in 2001 in the same draft as his twin brother, Jarron, spent the past season with the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards.
“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite “team” players I have ever coached,” Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said in a statement on Monday. “If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be its not up to you, it’s just me being me.’”
According to Collins, he came out to his brother, Jarron, in the summer of 2012.
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