The NBA’s Jason Collins made history today. Collins came out as gay — making this an unprecedented statement in the NBA history. His coming out is more historical, because Collins has come out while still actively playing. Collins finished this season with the Washington Wizards, and has also played for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and Memphis Grizzlies. Collins made the announcement is a story that will appear on the May 6th issue of Sports Illustrated.
The 34-year-old NBA center, according to Si.com, said that “My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.”
The Human Rights Campaign immediately issued a statement, via HRC President Chad Griffin following Collin’s revelation:
“With his brave and honest announcement today, Jason Collins has forever changed the face of sports. No longer will prejudice and fear force gay athletes to remain silent about a fundamental part of their lives. By coming out and living openly while still an active NBA player, Collins has courageously shown the world that one’s sexual orientation is no longer an impediment to achieving one’s goals, even at the highest levels of professional sports. [pullquote]His actions today tell LGBT young people that what will define our success in life is our character and dedication, not our sexual orientation. — HRC President Chad Griffin[/pullquote]
“Today’s announcement again shows that gay Americans are our teachers, police officers, nurses, lawyers and even our professional athletes. We contribute to every aspect of our American community and deserve the same equal rights as every American.”
Reactions from other people were fast to reach the Twitter sphere:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
Bravo, @JasonCollins34! Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that's saying a lot.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) April 29, 2013
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
Doc Rivers: "I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro." Read Doc's full statement: http://t.co/Q0dQ71oYf0
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 29, 2013
Jason's sexuality doesn't change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate. @jasoncollins34
— Jason Kidd (@RealJasonKidd) April 29, 2013
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) April 29, 2013
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 29, 2013
Congratulations to Jason – sport couldn't hope for a more eloquent & positive role model: http://t.co/pn33mwcplX
— John Amaechi OBE (@JohnAmaechi) April 29, 2013
I have so much #Respect for Jason Collins. He's going to change the game.
— Tyler Morris (@MylerTorris1525) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth. #nbafamily
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 29, 2013
Collin’s courageous act will change the lives of LGBT youth nation and worldwide.
“Jason Collins’ commitment to living openly is a monumental step forward toward greater equality and he immediately becomes a role model for youth all across this country. His actions today tell LGBT young people that what will define our success in life is our character and dedication, not our sexual orientation. At a moment when millions are reflecting on the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, Jason Collins is a hero for our own times.