MIAMI (CBSMiami) – NBA center Jason Collins became the first active player in a major professional sport to come out as gay Monday. Collins’ story was released by SI.com as the cover story for this week’s magazine.
“I’m a 34-year-old center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins wrote in the article. “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.”
Collins, a 7’0″, 255 pound center, spent part of last year with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. For his career he’s averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game during his 11-year career after being drafted out of Stanford University.
- Click here to see how the sports world reacted to Collins’ revelation
So what sparked Collins to finally come out despite the possible problems it may cause him in his career?
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?” Collins asked in the article.
Collins has been known throughout his career as a tough defender and he said that he was “not afraid to take on any opponent.” Even in his story, Collins used some humor to defuse the situation. Collins was talking about not cowering in fear at the feet of Shaquille O’Neal when he said, “Note to Shaq: My flopping has nothing to do with being gay.”
Collins also revealed that he wore the number 98 while playing with the Celtics and Wizards as a way to pay tribute to Matthew Shepard, a gay student who was tortured and left to die chained to a prairie fence in Wyoming.
Still, the newest and richest Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace said he didn’t understand Collins.
“All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…” Wallace tweeted Monday afternoon. “I’m not bashing anybody. Don’t have anything against anyone. I just don’t understand it.”