Collins becomes the first active male athlete who comes out as gay after openly declaring his sexual orientation via Sports Illustrated.
Jason Collins made a surprising statement in a May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated. The Washington Wizards center revealed, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Jason wrote in the essay which appeared online on Monday, April 29.
Jason explained that Boston Marathon bombings contributed to his decision to come out, saying that "I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?" He later revealed that the first relative he talked to was his aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. His aunt's words brought him comfort. "I've known you were gay for years," she said.
Words of support came from many people after Jason's coming out, including president Obama who reportedly made a phone call to Jason. Former President Bill Clinton said in a statement, "Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned." Jason's twin brother Jarron Collins, who was surprised and did not expect Jason's coming out, also gave him his full support.
According to USA Today, NBA Commissioner David Stern was "proud" to see that Jason took leadership in such important issue. In addition, GLAAD, a media advocacy for LGBT people, said via Aaron McQuade of the sports program, " 'Courage' and 'inspiration' are words that get thrown around a lot in sports, but Jason Collins has given both ideas a brand new context. We hope that his future team will welcome him, and that fans of the NBA and sports in general will applaud him."
Fellow NBA player Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to show his support, writing, "Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU." Steve Nash tweeted, "The time has come. Maximum respect." Los Angeles Lakers player Antawn Jamison, however, told TMZ that some people might not be able to accept it. "Of course, you're going to have some closed-minded people, let's be realistic," he said.