By Satbir Singh
It was a great day for not just basketball, but for multiple sports. And not just great for sports, but for the human race as a whole. To this date no athlete has ever been able to open up to being gay. However, today NBA player Jason Collins opened up to the whole world as the first male athlete to be gay in a team sport in North America.
Collins isn’t a big name outside of basketball, and a regular fan may have trouble knowing who Collins is too. The 7-foot center was drafted out of Stanford by the Houston Rockets. The first round pick in 2001 never played a game for Houston, but spent six and a half seasons with New Jersey as a Net, and then spent half a season in Memphis, and a saw time with Minnesota also. Collins recently spent three years with Atlanta, and this previous season started off with Boston, and was later traded to Washington.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins announced early Monday afternoon. Collins got lots of love around the NBA from fellow players, coaches, and executives. He is respected by everyone, and is known to be a great guy in the locker room. Heck, Boston never wanted to trade Collins to Washington, but it was the only way they could get the deal done.
Collins announcement opens the door for many gay athletes who have been afraid to go professional due to their life choice, or for future athletes who turn out to be gay. Collins is a free agent on July 1st, and it is unsure if any team will make the move to sign the center. A survey of 14 General Managers conducted by ESPN showed that six of those General Managers believe Collins will receive a contract to play next season. However, the other eight had some doubt on if Collins would get another chance to play. But for those eight GMs nothing had to do with Collins sexual orientation, but mostly with his age, and playing ability.
The 34-year old has been an end of the bench player most of his career, but with a weak draft class upcoming it opens the door for Collins to stick around the NBA. But for now, Collins will always be accepted in the NBA, no matter gay or straight. It’s just the fact that he’s getting old, and playing ability has taken a hit.
Collins will no matter what go down as a hero for most athletes. His opening up has received respect from many people in the NBA, and out. This is a major step in the development of sports in North America, and everyone can thank Collins.