Professional basketball center Jason Collins, who played in more than
30 games with the Boston Celtics this season, has come out as openly gay in the
most recent issue of Sports Illustrated.
In the magazine's latest issue, Collins, 34, a 12-year veteran of the NBA, cited the 2011 NBA player lockout and the recent Boston Marathon bombings as some of the reasons why he decided to come out publicly.
"Some people insist they've never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore," Collins writes with Franz Lidz in Sports Illustrated. "Pro basketball is a family. And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister or cousin who's gay. In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who's out."
Advertising experts recently told the Herald that the first openly gay man in a major American team sport could reap millions of dollars in endorsements and speaking engagements.
The athlete who makes sports history by coming out will also likely be sought after by companies that want to appeal to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population, experts said.
Fellow Stanford University graduate U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Brookline) was quick to show support today for Collins, who appeared with Kennedy during last year's campaign.
"For as long as I've known Jason Collins he has been defined by three things: his passion for the sport he loves, his unwavering integrity and the biggest heart you will ever find," said Kennedy in a statement. "Without question or hesitation, he gives everything he's got to those of us lucky enough to be in his life. I'm proud to stand with him today and proud to call him a friend."
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