NBA center Jason Collins, who most recently played for the Washington Wizards, has announced through a column in Sports Illustrated that he is openly gay, becoming the first active NBA player and male athlete in an American professional sport to make the announcement publicly.
Collins is a 12-year NBA veteran, and at 34 years old, the journeyman felt it was the right time to open up and reveal who he really is to the world. While Collins will be entering uncharted waters, there is little doubt that he will be met with acceptance.
Sports Illustrated also talked to Collins’ brother Jarron, a former NBA player, who spoke in depth about what exactly Jason is trying to gain from revealing his homosexuality:
What does Jason want out of this? He wants to live his life. He wants a relationship, he wants a family, he wants to settle down. He wants to move forward with his personal life while maintaining his life as a professional basketball player. That's all, really.
NBA commissioner David Stern was among the first to offer kind words for Collins (via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today):
Stern was far from the only person who voiced support for Collins, as several NBA players also made made it clear where they stood on the announcement.
The always vocal Baron Davis also had Collins' back:
Denver Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried, who was raised in a household with two mothers, shared his excitement:
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love acknowledged his happiness for Collins, whom he describes as a "great teammate and friend":
As someone who has faced his own internal struggles over the past year, Houston Rockets forward Royce White thanked Collins for having the willingness to face an issue this large:
John Rohde of The Oklahoman was able to talk to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant and get his thoughts on the announcement:
While the athletes in the NBA made it clear that they support their brother in arms, it didn’t just stop there. Prominent celebrities across the country have stood up to applaud what Collins has done.
Political activist Chelsea Clinton shared the happiness that she felt for her friend in this time of triumph:
Director/producer and perennial sideline stalker Spike Lee also jumped in to show his support:
Former New York Giants star and TV host Michael Strahan offered his unwavering allegiance:
Robbie Rogers, a former member of the U.S. National soccer team who came out in a retirement letter, believes Collins' situation will have a powerful and positive impact:
WWE superstar and actor The Rock also offered his support for Collins with the following statement:
The biggest names in media have also come out to stand with Collins against discrimination. They not only appreciate that he became the first openly gay active NBA player, but the manner in which he did so.
CNN’s Rachel Nichols talks about just how well-spoken Collins was in the column and what that meant for the impact of his announcement:
The hope now is that the strength and class that Collins has shown and will show throughout this experience will give others in the same position the courage to come out. As much as Collins has remained humble through this process, he has taken a huge first step in the name of equality.
We live in a great nation that supports all kinds of people. If a player is openly gay, there is no reason he or she should be treated any differently.