NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NBA veteran Jason Collins became the first active male player in the four major American professional sports to come out as gay.
The 34-year-old center, who has played for six teams in 12 seasons — his first seven with the Nets — wrote a first-person account posted on Sports Illustrated’s website Monday. Collins finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. He says he wants to keep playing.
“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 wrote. “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.
Read More: Collins’ SI Article
Collins played in a Final Four for Stanford and reached two NBA Finals. His twin brother, Jarron, was also a longtime NBA center. Collins says he told his brother he was gay last summer.
Sports Illustrated reporter Franz Lidz wrote the article along with Collins.
“He was just tired of hiding. He wasn’t expecting to be the first, but since no one else was coming out he kind of volunteered,” Lidz told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.