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Jason-Collins

Jason Collins

First Openly Gay Player In Major League Sports, NBA Player & Equality Advocate

Jason Collins, the first openly gay National Basketball Association “NBA” player, recently was in a Sports Illustrated cover story, Collins became the first active male player in any of the four major American professional sports to announce that he is gay. He later signed a contract to finish the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets.…

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Jason Collins, the first openly gay National Basketball Association “NBA” player, recently was in a Sports Illustrated cover story, Collins became the first active male player in any of the four major American professional sports to announce that he is gay. He later signed a contract to finish the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets.

He played 13 years in the NBA after being drafted the 18th overall player in the 2001 league draft by the Houston Rockets. He went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. During his professional career, Collins’ teams earned 10 trips to the playoffs, including two NBA Finals appearances.

During his final season with the Nets, Collins wore No. 98 to honor UW student Matthew Shepard, who was killed in 1998. His No. 98 uniform became the best-selling jersey in the league last year. Collins said his most poignant moment came during his third game back last season, when he met Shepard’s family in Denver when his Nets played the Nuggets.

“Playing 13 years in the league, people will slap different labels on you,” Collins said when he announced his retirement last November. “First and foremost, I always want my legacy to be known as a great teammate, someone who always sacrificed for the team.”

At Stanford, Collins was an All-American in the 2000-01 season. He also was named to the Pac-10 first team and awarded the National Association of Basketball Coaches Pete Newell “Big Man of the Year” Award. He was ranked first in Stanford history for field goal percentage and third in blocked shots.

After the 2012-13 NBA season, President Barack Obama expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement and said he “couldn’t be prouder.”

Since his retirement, Collins has traveled the country with the mission of “empowering people to live as their true selves.”

In 2013, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, honored Collins with the Courage Award, and, last year, Logo TV honored Collins with its inaugural Trailblazer Award. He also is the face of Nike’s “Be True” sportswear line and Marriott’s global #LoveTravels campaign. Last April, Collins was featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

He serves on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which works to motivate Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and nutrition.

Collins lives in Los Angeles.

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