Reactions to the First Active, Openly Gay NBA Player

Jason Collins Made History With His Coming Out Essay


Jason Collins made history, with a personal essay in Sports Illustrated.

It begins ‘I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”


While there are a handful of openly gay and lesbian athletes, most aren’t involved in team sports, where the risk of intolerance from fellow players – not just fans – is a concern. The reactions from the league itself, as well as NBA players past and present, has been largely supportive.

Statements of support were issued from NBA commissioner David Stern and Nike, the only company with which Collins currently has an endorsement.

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” Stern said in a statement. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

Nike showed similar support of Collins’ decision to come out.

“Jason (Collins) is a Nike athlete. We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion,” the statement read. {AOL Sporting News}

More reactions came in on Twitter, where the messages of support extended to baseball (the Boston Red Sox offered Collins first pitch at a game) and tennis (from openly lesbian stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navritilova). While it’s incredibly encouraging that the support reaches beyond basketball, the most heartening reactions came from current and former greats of the game, which gives hope that other gay players will be able to be open about their sexuality without fear of finding themselves in a hostile environment.

Twitter responses to the news of Jason Collins’ essay coming out:

Jarron Collins

(Jason Collins’ Brother, and fellow NBA player)

Kobe Bryant
Proud of @. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU
Kobe Bryant
Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Jason Collins has announced that he is gay. I know Jason and his family well and I support him 100%.
Earvin Magic Johnson
Manu Ginobili
All my respect & support to JasonCollins. Thanks to his courage perhaps someday an athlete's sexual preference will be irrelevant. Congrats.
Manu Ginobili
Dwayne Wade
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
Steve Nash
The time has come. Maximum respect. RT @: I am so proud of my bro @ for being real. ...
Steve Nash
John Amaechi
Congratulations to Jason - society couldn't hope for a more eloquent & positive role model:
John Amaechi OBE
Garrett Temple
Much respect to my teammate @ for being #real
Garrett Temple
Zaza Pachulia
Jason is one of the best teammates that I’ve ever had. He was a great presence in the locker room and an even better person. #NBAFamily
Zaza Pachulia

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