The White House announced some of the guests who will be seated in first lady Michelle Obama’s box during the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday. Out former NBA player Jason Collins will be among the guests.
Other guests include a Boston Marathon survivor and his rescuer, the Moore, Okla., fire chief who directed the rescue after a devastating tornado last year, D.C.’s teacher of the year and a 16-year-old Intel intern.
During the State of the Union address, presidents traditionally tell stories about Americans who have made a difference during the year.
Collins played in the NBA for 12 years, making it to the playoffs nine times. In college, he was selected as an All American, named the NCAA’s “Big Man of the Year” and earned an appearance in the Final Four.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers described Collins as “the best.”
“He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach,” Collins said.
In April 2013, Collins became the first male player in major American team sports to come out openly as gay.
A statement from the White House described Collins’ coming out as courageous.
The President expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement through an article Collins penned himself. The President said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins is 35 and lives in Los Angeles, California.