In case you’ve been offline for the last several hours, NBA center Jason Collins on Monday became the first active male athlete in a major American professional sport to come out as gay.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins writes in Sports Illustrated (above). “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
Upon hearing the news, I immediately fired off an email to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community whom I first interviewed about the subject in 2007.
“Any thoughts on Jason Collins?” I wrote to Cuban this morning. “Are you surprised? Do you think this will create a domino effect of other pro athletes coming out? Would you consider signing him if he fit the Mavs’ needs?”
“I think he is a pioneer,” Cuban responded. “I would have no problem signing Jason if he fits our needs. I hope this is the first of many such announcements.”