Jason Collins: NBA player announces he is gay

JASON Collins, a veteran centre in the United States’ National Basketball Association, announced yesterday that he was gay, becoming the first active player from any US professional sports league to publicly reveal his homosexuality.

Collins, a free agent who played with the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics during the 2012-13 regular season, made the announcement in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” he said. “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.”

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Former US President Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea was a classmate of Collins at Stanford University, applauded Collins for coming out.

“Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” Clinton said in a statement.