On Monday morning, Washington Wizards center Jason Collins revealed to the world that he is gay.
Collins, who was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Wizards this season in a deal that included Leandro Barbosa in exchange for Jordan Crawford, is 34 years old and has had a solid NBA career ever since being drafted in 2001. Collins’ decision to come out and reveal his status as a gay professional athlete is groundbreaking, albeit it doesn’t need to be.
Collins will be labeled as a pioneer, although he is correct in his interview with Sports Illustrated in saying that he didn’t openly set out to be. Collins claims to Sports Illustrated however, that he is happy to start the conversation and rightfully so. It was only a matter of time before a gay professional athlete came out and Collins has now become that man.
Collins is already gaining the support of so many on Twitter and rightfully so. Baron Davis offered his support and pride of Collins almost immediately following the news:
— Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis) April 29, 2013
Collins’ twin brother, Jarron Collins, also tweeted:
— jarron collins (@jarronctwin) April 29, 2013
The decision also warranted the opinion of Chelsea Clinton:
Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA. bit.ly/ZLei9F
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 29, 2013
And of course, Kobe Bryant offered his thoughts:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
Collins is a true 7-footer and despite reaching the latter portion of career has had a successful 12 years in the NBA. Given Collins’ decision to come as a gay athlete, the support should continue to pour in. Hopefully this encourages other gay athletes to approach the situation as Collins has, following in his footsteps as a pioneer.
Whether or not Collins believes that he is a pioneer for professional athletes in sports, he has become one by default — and without a doubt it’s a good thing to see.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS