In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, the NBA’s Jason Collins became the first active player in any of the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) to announce he was gay. His opening paragraph: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
Toward the end of his must-read story, Collins, a 7-foot, 255-pounder who has played for six teams in his 12-year pro career, ponders the fallout from his announcement:
I’ve been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I’m a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The biggest concern seems to be that gay players will behave unprofessionally in the locker room. Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn’t an issue before, and it won’t be one now. My conduct won’t change. I still abide by the adage, “What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.” I’m still a model of discretion.
Here’s what President Obama had to say about Collins when asked at his Tuesday press conference:
And here’s a look at what some people—some NBA players, some not—tweeted on Monday:
Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. #FTheHaters bit.ly/12J9el5
— Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis) April 29, 2013
So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!
— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) April 29, 2013
Orange And Blue Skies Salutes Jason Collins. Thank You For Your Courage,A Slam Dunk Against HOMOPHOBIA.And Dat’s Da “FREEDOM”Truth,Ruth.
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) April 29, 2013
The time has come. Maximum respect. RT @baron_davis: I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. … tmi.me/TGSBh
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 29, 2013
Big kudos to @jasoncollins34. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability. sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/… #salute
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) April 29, 2013
I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend. wjcf.co/154piCi
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 29, 2013
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
Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) April 29, 2013
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld: “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly.”
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 29, 2013
Congratulations to Jason – society couldn’t hope for a more eloquent & positive role model: buff.ly/10OvOMd
— John Amaechi OBE (@JohnAmaechi) April 29, 2013
Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 29, 2013
White House commends #NBA veteran Jason #Collins on coming out as #gay – abcn.ws/Yhc5mJ
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) April 29, 2013
Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate. @jasoncollins34
— Jason Kidd (@RealJasonKidd) April 29, 2013
Bravo, @jasoncollins34! Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that’s saying a lot.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) April 29, 2013
Wow this is amazing all smiles.. So so happy Jason Collins came out & announce he was openly GAY ALL SUPPORT OVER HERE #ATHLETEALLY #LGBT
— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013
proud of Washington Wizards’ player Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) for coming out. we will stand with you as you continue on your journey.
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 29, 2013
Happy for @jasoncollins34 in his decision. A great teammate and friend. Thanks for helping me through my rookie season!! #classact #courage
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 29, 2013
It is VERY IMPORTANT to be yourself – Jason Collins @jasoncollins34 is being himself – good for him
— Bernard King (@30BernardKing) April 29, 2013
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
I will always support people for being who they are. Happy for @jasoncollins34 that he can lead an honest life.
— Nick Swisher (@NickSwisher) April 29, 2013
Played NBA +college w/ @jasoncollins34 -tremendous human being and PHENOMENAL teammate, leader, friend.Look forward 2his continued success!
— Mark Madsen (@madsen_mark) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins has announced that he is gay. I know Jason and his family well and I support him 100%.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2013
Big support to @jasoncollins34.That’s not an easy thing you did
— Howard Stern (@HowardStern) April 29, 2013
Same! RT @diablocody: Congrats, Jason Collins, and thank you!
— Katy Perry (@katyperry) April 29, 2013
.@nba center @jasoncollins34 is the 1st out player on a US major league team. I’m overwhelmed by your bravery, Jason, & sending so much love
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 29, 2013
Happy for my former teammate Jason Colllins. A true American. “home of the free because of the brave”
— Rudy Gay (@rudygay22) April 29, 2013
So proud of Jason Collins for being an example of bravery and courage. I applaud you!!!
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) April 29, 2013
All my respect & support to JasonCollins. Thanks to his courage perhaps someday an athlete’s sexual preference will be irrelevant. Congrats.
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) April 29, 2013
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) April 29, 2013
So proud of my fellow @stanfordalumni alum @jasoncollins34 !! #equalityforall #brave
— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth. #nbafamily
— Way of WADE (@DwyaneWade) April 29, 2013
It’s amazing to see such courage from @jasoncollins34 in today’sannouncement. Myself and the #NBAFamily supports you Jason!
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) April 29, 2013
@nba @jason Collins, the NBA family has always been about acceptance and equality for all. Stand tall you have more supporters than haters.
— Isiah Thomas (@iamisiahthomas) April 29, 2013
Really hope people will RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is.
— tony Parker (@tonyparker) April 29, 2013
‘He exemplifies everything we look for in players’ – @bkdefend on Jason Collins. More: on.nba.com/15VcD4i
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 29, 2013
So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! -mo
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) April 29, 2013
. @jasoncollins34 was a complete professional and a great teammate. I support him in his decision and wish him all the best in the future.
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) April 29, 2013
I would like to pledge my support to Jason Collins, and hope someday that we only get judged by our accomplishments.
— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) April 29, 2013
Much respect to @jasoncollins34 for doing what he is doing…. He was a great teammate and I support you either way…
— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) April 29, 2013
Proud to support my teammate and friend @jasoncollins34. Stay true to you!
— Emeka Okafor (@BigMek50) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins’ courageous act will impact many lives and help to create more tolerance in sports. Proud to have him representingthe NBA.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) April 29, 2013
hug for jason @jasoncollins34
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) April 29, 2013
Character is found in those who lead.I am so proud of my friend, Jason Collins, for showing all of us what leadership looks like.#way2go
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins @jasoncollins34 BRAVO!!!! We don’t know each other but CONGRATULATIONS buddy! You are one brave man!#NBA
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) April 29, 2013
@jasoncillins34 you have made sports what it should be and that’s “OPEN” proud of you for being you. That’s jump shot is still weak lol.
— Martell Webster (@MartellWebster) April 29, 2013
I am proud of my brother @jasoncollins34. Great teammate and mentor!
— John Wall (@John_Wall) April 30, 2013
I’m gonna be the first openly straight woman to french kiss the first openly gay NBA player.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) April 30, 2013
I feel a movement coming.
— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) April 29, 2013
Big ups to Jason Collins.
— Jonah Hill (@JonahHill) April 30, 2013
Carmelo Anthony praised Jason Collins’ decision to speak out: “It takes big balls to do that, especially (in) the society we live in.”
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) April 30, 2013
This story has been revised.