Jason Collins, NBA first openly gay player, retires24 November 2014


Collins, 35, said that he made the decision over the summer and that he would focus on his work supporting organisations devoted to promoting diversity and inclusion.

“The past 18, 19 months have been incredible,” said Collins, who did not sign with a team after finishing the 2013-14 season with the Nets.

“I’ve grown so much as a human being.”

Collins, a 2m13cm center, played 13 seasons in the league, averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds a game. He was known for his hard screens and tactical fouls. He said he hoped to be remembered as “a great teammate, someone who always sacrificed for the team.”

In May 2013, while a free agent, Collins wrote a first-person story for Sports Illustrated in which he came out as gay. He did not sign with another team until February, when the Nets, the team with which he began his career in 2001, were in need of a big man.

Collins played 22 games last season, his eighth with the Nets. Although he was a modest contributor, his presence on the team in the first few weeks drew enormous attention from the news media and fans wherever the team traveled. He recalled Wednesday that the responses he had heard were almost universally positive.

Collins’s twin brother, Jarron Collins, who played 10 NBA seasons, is an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

Upon joining the Nets last season, Jason Collins played down his role as a pioneer and repeatedly stated that he wanted to be seen simply as a basketball player. He acknowledged on Wednesday that he had grown more comfortable as something of an activist.

Noting that Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, came out this year, Collins said, “All of us are doing our part to encourage society to shift in a new direction.”

Collins said, “I will continue to speak out and push for people to live their authentic life, continue to speak up for diversity and inclusion.”

From The New York Times

jason collins