NBA veteran Jason Collins comes out as gay

04/29/2013 2:27 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Washington Wizards center Jason Collins (right) defends against Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich.(AP)
Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, has come out as gay.

In an exclusive Sports Illustrated article, Collins tells a first-hand account of his life story and the decision to come out as the first openly gay male athlete in major American team sports. 

Collins started by saying, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." He added that he first seriously considered coming out during the 2011 NBA work stoppage, but that loyalty to his team ultimately prevented him from coming out sooner. At the time he wrote the article, Collins had not come out to anyone in the NBA. 

The league, many players and civic leaders were quick to show their support for Collins as the news of his announcement broke on Monday. Former president Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea attended Stanford with Collins, praised Collins' announcement as a "straightforward statement of a good man." Doc Rivers, Collins' coach while a member of the Boston Celtics, said he was "extremely happy" for his former player.

The seven-foot center began the 2012 season with the Celtics but was traded to the Washington Wizards before the trade deadline. Known as a bruising center, Collins led the NBA with 322 fouls during the 2004-05 NBA season. He is a free agent heading into the 2013-14 NBA season. 

Drafted by the New Jersey Nets out of Stanford in the 2001, Collins has played for six NBA teams over 12 seasons. Twin-brother Jarron Collins was also drafted in 2001 and last played for the Portland Trailblazers in 2011.  

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