NEW YORK (AP) - NBA veteran center Jason Collins has become the first active male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay.
Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website. The 34-year-old Collins has played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. He says he wants to continue playing.
Collins writes: "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
Collins played in a Final Four for Stanford and reached two NBA Finals. His twin brother, Jarron, was also a longtime NBA center. Jason says he came out to his brother last summer.
Collins played for the Atlanta Hawks from 2009-2012. The Hawks organization released the following statement this afternoon:
The following statements are from Atlanta Hawks Managing Partner/NBA Governor Bruce Levenson and President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry on behalf of the team:
"We have great respect for Jason and his message today. Creating an environment where we support, respect, and accept our players' individual rights is very important to us," Hawks Managing Partner and NBA Governor Bruce Levenson said. "Jason represented everything that we look for as a member of the Atlanta Hawks and we are proud he wore our jersey."
"Our focus will always be on bringing in players that can contribute
to the greater good of the Atlanta Hawks and ensuring that we create the
most accepting, respectful, and productive environment for players to
succeed," Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager
Danny Ferry said.
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