"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay". With these words Jason Collins, player of the Washington Wizards, has become the first male athlete from one of the four major American leagues who comes out as gay while still active.
Written by himself, Collins reveals his homosexuality in the next issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, on sale next May 6. He relates: "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. 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".
He also confesses: "No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back".
After his announcement, Collins has received support and praises from a lot of people, both within and outside basketball world. Among others, NBA star Kobe Bryant and NBA commissioner David Stern, president Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, and also NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and retired tennis player Martina Navratilova.
I want to add my support and best wishes to him!
New Yersey: 2001-2008
Watch his interview on ABC's Good Morning America