Jason Collins comes out as gay

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Collins becomes the first active pro athlete in the big leagues to come out as gay

Jason Collins has become the first active male athlete in one of the big pro sports leagues to come out publicly as gay. He writes for Sports Illustrated:

I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

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.

We knew this day would come. We didn't know if it would be this week or next year. But now that it has, I get the feeling that, unlike David Kopay 40 years ago, this may open the door to many more in the near future when everyone sees it worked out just fine for Collins.

He did it in the perfect way: In his own words. The column he wrote was strong, and it sends a clear message: I'm OK with who I am.

We've said for years that the best timing for this announcement would be early in the offseason. Just two weeks after his regular season ended, and six months before the season starts, it couldn't be a better time to do this. The media will get the story out its system before tip-off of the next season.

With all the rumors and speculation floating around for weeks and months now, we have to wonder: Who will be second....

The 7-foot center has been in the NBA for 12 years since graduating from Stanford. He was a first-round pick in 2001 by the Houston Rockets, and he's currently with the Washington Wizards, though he will soon be a free agent. He'll have to find a new home for himself; It shouldn't be too hard as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already said he would love to have the first out player on his team.

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