Jason Collins, a NationalBasketball Association center, made history in May 2013 by becoming the first professionalathlete in a major American team sport to reveal his homosexuality in aninterview which appeared in Sports Illustratedmagazine.
The oldest by eight minutes, Jason and his twin brother Jarron were born inNorthridge, California to Paul and Portia Collins on December 2, 1978. Jason and Jarron graduated from LosAngeles-based Harvard-Westlake School, a co-educational university preparatoryday school, in 1997. They also attended Stanford University, graduating in 2001where Jason earned All-American honors. In August 2013, three months afterpublicly revealing his sexual orientation, Collins was among the first class ofinductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
Collins joined the NBA in 2001 when he was a first-round draft pick (18thoverall) by the New Jersey Nets. Heplayed with the Nets until 2008 when a series of trades moved him around theleague. He played with the MemphisGrizzlies in 2008, the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008-2009, the Atlanta Hawksfrom 2009 to 2012, and the Boston Celtics in 2012-2013. He was picked up by theWashington Wizards in 2013 but became a free agent in July 2013. Since his declaration of his sexualorientation, Collins has not been signed to any other NBA team.
Collins’ aunt Teri Jackson, the first female African-American Superior CourtJudge in San Francisco, was also the first person to learn about hisrevelation, but as it turned out, she already knew, and persuaded him to comeout to the rest of the family, including a gay uncle and Jarron. After theinitial shock, Jason was embraced and supported by his family, NBA commissionerDavid Sterne, and a few fellow NBA players such as Kobe Bryant. He alsogarnered support from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and ex-PresidentBill Clinton whose daughter Chelsea was a classmate of Collins’ at StanfordUniversity.
While it was not his goal to become the first openly gay athlete, Collins