Jason Collins Boston Celtics gay NBA player

While the sports world buzzed about gay NFL players, a NBA player was planning to take his closet door off its hinges.

Jason Collins, center for the Boston Celtics, wrote a coming out letter exclusively for the May 6, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” he writes. “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 is obviously implying that there were other gay NBA players in the closet with him.

Jason Collins gay NBA player

From Sports Illustrated:

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.

I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.

Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively. I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.

Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided. READ MORE

Thanks to loyal reader @antonettegreen1 for the tip.

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, Kwaku Alston/SI.com

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