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NBA C Jason Collins comes out as gay

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In a story to be published in Sports Illustrated, Wizards center Jason Collins admitted he is gay.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins said.

Collins is now the first athlete from a major professional sport to come out during his career.

“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.”

Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, won the Pete Newell Big Man Of The Year award in 2001.

“Pro basketball is a family,” Collins said. “And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister or cousin who’s gay. In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who’s out.”

Following Collins’ announcement, NBA commissioner David Stern released the following statement:

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

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He's been wearing 98 as a tribute to Matthew Shepard.

Edit: In spoilers is [Mod edit: an excerpt from] the full essay from 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.

0428-jason-collins-2.jpg

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Hopefully this is the start of some very positive changes. Not just in the NBA, but throughout the sports world.

Best of luck Mr. Collins.

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Whether you "agree" with his lifestyle or not, everyone should agree that it takes tremendous courage to make this announcement.

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I agree it took courage but I wish a player would take the initiative and announce this prior to being drafted or while they're in the midst of their prime.

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I remember when the Wizards traded for him, our local broadcast interviewed him and asked him what he could bring to the table for the Wizards. And god bless him he tried his best to answer that Q even tho he averaged like 2 min a game and .1 ppg. He mentioned that he wouldn't be getting 50 pts a night and how he's a good locker room guy, how he could give you the tough fouls you need... Idk why but I respected him for that.

Hopefully all goes well for him. People are more open minded now, but there are tons of ignoramuses out there. It won't be easy. Best of luck JC.

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I remember when the Wizards traded for him, our local broadcast interviewed him and asked him what he could bring to the table for the Wizards. And god bless him he tried his best to answer that Q even tho he averaged like 2 min a game and .1 ppg. He mentioned that he wouldn't be getting 50 pts a night and how he's a good locker room guy, how he could give you the tough fouls you need... Idk why but I respected him for that.

Hopefully all goes well for him. People are more open minded now, but there are tons of ignoramuses out there. It won't be easy. Best of luck JC.

There sure are. I made the bad decision to read the comments here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/#ixzz2Rrh8O559

People are awful.

Jason Collins is not. Good for him.

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I remember when the Wizards traded for him, our local broadcast interviewed him and asked him what he could bring to the table for the Wizards. And god bless him he tried his best to answer that Q even tho he averaged like 2 min a game and .1 ppg. He mentioned that he wouldn't be getting 50 pts a night and how he's a good locker room guy, how he could give you the tough fouls you need... Idk why but I respected him for that.

Hopefully all goes well for him. People are more open minded now, but there are tons of ignoramuses out there. It won't be easy. Best of luck JC.

There sure are. I made the bad decision to read the comments here: http://sportsillustr.../#ixzz2Rrh8O559

People are awful.

Jason Collins is not. Good for him.

SI removed the comments section.

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The Hardaways were unavailable for comment.

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The only thing I know about Jason Collins is that I remember him at Stanford with his twin brother. Had no idea he was still in the NBA.

Good for him. If you can play, you can play - To borrow from another sport's gay rights activist group.

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I used to watch him with the Nets. He was a pretty good defender, but man he couldn't score if his life depended on it. I think he once went three or four games in a row in which he started and didn't score a point in any of those games.

That he's gay has zero to do with any of that of course. It takes courage to do that so good for him. Hopefully it's just one more step towards this becoming more and more of a non-issue on a societal level. Gay rights have come a long way but obviously there's still room for betterment there.

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After all the discussion about who will be the "first active male player from a team sport", this seems almost anticlimactic. At least at this early stage. But, I can pretty much imagine the comments that SI had to take down...so it will be very interesting to see how this goes.

Of course all the people that pretend to be open minded will say "why does he have to announce it and make a big production of it?" or "It should be a non-story." Bull. It's a big deal and it's not avoidable.

I admit, I was hoping the first would be someone a bit younger. I would not be surprised if Collins's career is over anyway given his age and production. But here we are. There will be a lot of immaturity to work through, but I really believe this can be a first step in the right direction.

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I remember when the Wizards traded for him, our local broadcast interviewed him and asked him what he could bring to the table for the Wizards. And god bless him he tried his best to answer that Q even tho he averaged like 2 min a game and .1 ppg. He mentioned that he wouldn't be getting 50 pts a night and how he's a good locker room guy, how he could give you the tough fouls you need... Idk why but I respected him for that.

Hopefully all goes well for him. People are more open minded now, but there are tons of ignoramuses out there. It won't be easy. Best of luck JC.

There sure are. I made the bad decision to read the comments here: http://sportsillustr.../#ixzz2Rrh8O559

People are awful.

Jason Collins is not. Good for him.

SI removed the comments section.

ESPNs are still going on and they are awful. Half of 'em anyway.

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Collins was a solid contributor on the Nets NBA Finals teams, not an All-Star not a Hall of Famer but he has had a solid career.

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This is fantastic news for the country. Good for him.

I wouldn't read anything into online comment sections - those tend to attract the absolute worst element on even the most benign of topics.

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Great for him to come out!

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Crappy player likes men. Big deal. Come out before you're at the end of your career, and then you might deserve the "courageous" label.

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This is fantastic news for the country. Good for him.

I wouldn't read anything into online comment sections - those tend to attract the absolute worst element on even the most benign of topics.

Exactly. You could have an article about the best pizza in whatever city and it would turn into liberal media this, religious right that, global warming blah blah blah conspiracy it's Obama's fault it's Bush's fault you're an idiot no you're the moron etc.

Scary that such people exist, but that's the world we live in.

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Crappy player likes men. Big deal. Come out before you're at the end of your career, and then you might deserve the "courageous" label.

Bull :censored:. I don't know why he came out (maybe he was about to be pushed out?) but who the hell are you to tell him when he should have come out or to judge whether this is courageous? And for that matter, how do you know he wants such a label?

I'll be honest. I'd have figured he was out of the league. He was not a star. Mid-career, he could have been run out of the league and cost himself all sorts of money. Now, for whatever reason, he's out. And in this era of media, he's opened himself to all sorts of criticism at all times of day on all media. I know I would not want that.

In any case, it's easy to judge what he "should have done" from the cheap seats.

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Because he hid this his entire career, and waited until now, when he knows he's washed up and may not ever play again, to do it. He likely won't have to go through a whole NBA season with this. He gets to start his second career now. This isn't setting an example for a young gay athlete in college. Someone like that coming out would take integrity and courage.

This is a well-timed event that lets him get some media attention on his way out of the league. It's publicity.

but who the hell are you to tell him when he should have come out or to judge whether this is courageous?

So...nobody can have an opinion on it either way? Other people have said that it is courageous. That's judging, too. I guess one can only have an opinion if it affirms yours.

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Because he hid this his entire career, and waited until now, when he knows he's washed up and may not ever play again, to do it. He likely won't have to go through a whole NBA season with this. He gets to start his second career now. This isn't setting an example for a young gay athlete in college. Someone like that coming out would take integrity and courage.

This is a well-timed event that lets him get some media attention on his way out of the league. It's publicity.

but who the hell are you to tell him when he should have come out or to judge whether this is courageous?

So...nobody can have an opinion on it either way? Other people have said that it is courageous. That's judging, too. I guess one can only have an opinion if it affirms yours.

He could not win. Either he hides it (which cheeses off all the phony people who pretend not to discrimintate) or he's showing off (see previous parenthetical). He could not avoid criticism whenever.

You can have an opinion, but you don't know any better than anyone else why it was timed like it was. Something tells me you'd have carried the same attitude whenever he did it anyway.

You can have all the opinions you want...yours happens to be based on your guess (and that's all it is) that he had some devious reason behind the timing. Mine my be based on some bias toward this issue... and I'd say yours certainly is.

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