Jason Collins went from a moderately famous NBA star to a world-famous sports icon last year when he came out of the closet as gay in a Sports Illustrated feature. And after signing a deal with the Brooklyn Nets this year and becoming the first openly gay active NBA player — and the first openly gay man to play in any of the four major sports leagues in the United States — Collins has now announced that he’s officially retiring from the world of professional basketball.
Collins revealed the end of his 13-year NBA career yesterday in a column for Sports Illustrated.
“On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player. The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: ‘Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate,’ ” wrote Collins.
“Considering all the speculation about problems I might face within the locker room, Jason’s support was significant. It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest. The much-ballyhooed media blitz to cover me unscrambled so quickly that a flack jokingly nicknamed me Mr. Irrelevant,” he added.
Well, we are proud of Collins and the legacy he’s made for himself, as well as the impact he’s made for LGBT athletes in the world of professional sports. We can’t wait to see the next young LGBT athletes walk through the doors that Collins has undoubtedly opened.
Read the rest of Collins’ statement after the cut. –nicholas robinson