On SI.com Monday, Collins revealed that he is gay in an article that will be featured in the current edition of Sports Illustrated. The 34-year-old center elaborated on his choice in front of millions of television viewers on Tuesday morning.
Collins reiterated that he never set out to be the first openly gay player in major American team sports, but he felt the time was right to come forward. He told Stephanopoulos that he was waiting for someone else to come forward, but it never happened.
You're sort of waiting around for somebody else to … raise their hand. I'm ready to raise my hand but, you know, you still look around like, "OK, come on, guys." It's time for someone else in the room to raise their hand and say, "You know what? Yeah, so big deal. I can still play basketball. I can still help the team win, and that's what's most important."
Stephanopoulos asked Collins if he ever thought about getting married, starting a family and keeping his secret buried. Collins said that he was actually engaged to a woman, but he decided to call it off. While it was a difficult decision, he said it was the right one because he would have been living a lie.
Collins told Stephanopoulos about when he came out to his aunt, the first family member he told. He said that she always knew he was gay, but it was a different story when it came to his twin brother and former NBA player Jarron Collins.
Jason told his brother, who had no idea that he was gay. Even so, Jason said that Jarron was extremely supportive and has taken on a protective role, whereas Jason used to be more protective of Jarron.
Not only has Collins' family supported him, but there has been an outpouring of support from NBA players, fans and essentially any other group one can think of. This past day has likely been a whirlwind for Collins, but he took time to thank everyone who has reached out to him thus far.
Ultimately, while Collins didn't necessarily want to be the first openly gay player in American team sports, he is hopeful that his decision will make it easier for other players to be themselves.
"I hope that every player makes a decision that leads to their own happiness," he said.
Collins appears to be at peace with his decision, so perhaps he can find happiness as well. Stephanopoulos asked Collins about potentially getting married and starting a family, which is something that Collins appears to be very open to.
Now that Collins has laid his cards on the table, his focus is likely to shift to the 2013-14 NBA season. Collins will officially become a free agent once this season ends, and there is no guarantee that a team will sign the 34-year-old role player.
There is no question that his Good Morning America interview, Sports Illustrated article and everything that goes along with coming out have molded him from an anonymous player into a hot commodity of sorts in the sports world.
Whether that helps or hinders his chances of being signed remains to be seen. Based on how supportive everyone has been over the past day, however, there likely won't be any apprehension from a team in signing him if that team believes that he can still contribute.
One team that could be a natural fit is the Dallas Mavericks. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, Mavs owner Mark Cuban is progressive when it comes to gay rights issues, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Collins were to receive an invite to training camp.
Collins came across very well in his interview with Stephanopoulos and showed great character and leadership, so it will be interesting to see what all of this means for Collins moving forward, both personally and professionally.
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