"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."
Washington Wizard -- and ex-teammate of the Heat's Mike Miller -- Jason Collins has just become the first active openly gay player in the four major American sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL).
In an eloquent article penned by Collins himself for Sports Illustrated, the NBA center points to the Boston Marathon bombings as reason to not wait any longer.
"As I write this, I haven't come out to anyone in the NBA. I'm not privy to what other players say about me," Collins says in the piece. "Maybe Mike Miller, my old teammate in Memphis, will recall the time I dropped by his house in Florida and say, 'I enjoyed being his teammate, and I sold him a dog.' I hope players swap stories like that. Maybe they'll talk about my character and what kind of person I am."
In 2007, retired NBA player John Amaechi came out of the closet in an autobiography written after he retired.
The ground being broken here is that Collins is still a member of the NBA.
As he puts it:
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.
This is a watershed moment in American pro sports. And one that will likely bring out the troglodytic bigots as much as it brings out the praise of NBA fans and Americans everywhere.
Either way, it's a moment to remember. And Collins' courage is something to never forget.
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