Jason Collins

Basketball Player

Born: 2 December 1978
Birthplace: Northridge, California
Best known as:

The first active NBA player to say publicly that he was gay

NBA center Jason Collins announced in 2013 that he was gay, becoming the first player in one of the "big four" American sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey) to say publicly during his active career that he was homosexual. Jason Collins attended Stanford University (along with his twin brother, Jarron) from 1997-2001, graduating in 2001 with with a degree in communications. The New Jersey Nets made Jason Collins the 18th pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft, and he played his first seven NBA seasons (2001-08) with the team. He spent the next seven seasons as a true journeyman with Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston, and Washington. Over those years he averaged 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 points per game. But his under-the-radar status changed when he gave his announcement to Sports Illustrated magazine for its May 6, 2013 issue. "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," began the article. "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." The announcement drew immediate messages of support from NBA commissioner David Stern and from many of his teammates and fellow players. Collins went unsigned for the rest of 2013, but in February of 2014, the Brooklyn Nets signed him to a 10-day contract.

Extra credit:

Jason Collins is 7'0" tall and weighs 255 pounds, according to his 2013 player profile on NBA.com... His twin brother Jarron Collins also played in the NBA for 10 seasons, from 2001 to 2011... Other retired pro athletes had already come out as gay before Collins made his announcement, including John Amaechi (NBA), Esera Tuaolo (NFL) and Billy Bean (Major League Baseball). The WNBA had openly-gay players much earlier, including Sue Wicks and Sheryl Swoopes.

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