Story by 89 WLS Web Writer Kim Rasmussen
On Monday, news broke that NBA center Jason Collins came out to Sports Illustrated.
The 34-year-old is the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport.
In the article, which appears in the May 6, 2013 edition of Sports Illustrated but is available online now, Collins says he didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete. But, since no one else seems to want to step forward, he's "happy to start the conversation."
"I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different,'" Collins told Sports Illustrated. "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
Collins has played on six teams and appeared in two NBA finals throughout his pro career. This season, his 12th, Collins played for both the Celtics and the Wizards.
Collins is currently a free agent.
Since the news broke, Collins has received an outpouring of support:
I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. wjcf.co/154piCi— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 29, 2013
Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 29, 2013
So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) April 29, 2013
Really hope people will RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is.— tony Parker (@tonyparker) April 29, 2013
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
Doc Rivers: "I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro." Read Doc's full statement: on.nba.com/15UPgaR— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 29, 2013
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