News / USA

Gay NBA Player Breaks Athletic Barrier

Gay NBA Player Breaks Athletic Barrieri
X
April 30, 2013 9:29 PM
A National Basketball Association (NBA) player has become the first active player in a major professional U.S. team sport to reveal he is homosexual. In the cover story for this week's Sports Illustrated magazine, the acknowledgement by Washington Wizards center Jason Collins that he is gay has made headlines across the country and sparked wide reaction. VOA's Chris Simkins has more.
Chris Simkins
A National Basketball Association (NBA) player has become the first active player in a major professional U.S. team sport to reveal he is homosexual.  In the cover story for this week's Sports Illustrated magazine, the acknowledgement by Washington Wizards center Jason Collins that he is gay has made headlines across the country and sparked wide reaction.

Jason Collins has spent 12 years in the NBA.  But his playing career has never drawn as much public attention as his recent revelation.  In an interview with ABC News, Collins said his decision to go public with his sexual orientation was difficult.

"You know, you go through anger, denial and that is all you know, but when you finally get to that point of acceptance, there's nothing more beautiful.  And just allowing yourself to, you know, really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin," said Collins.

Collins said he first thought about revealing his sexuality last year, after years of what he calls "living a lie."  But he said the recent Boston Marathon bombing finally convinced him to come out.  

"It's kind of mind boggling that I never set out to be the first," he said. "You're sort of waiting around for someone else to raise their hand, and you know I'm ready to raise my hand, but you still look around like 'come on guys.'"

Several male athletes in major U.S. pro sports have revealed they were gay after they retired, but Collins is the first to do so while planning to continue playing.  Sports writer Christine Brennan says he should be a role model for other professional athletes.
 
"Jackie Robinson, what he was to integration, and what [tennis legend] Billy Jean King has been to women's rights, and now Jason Collins for gay rights, I think this is not just big sports news this is big news in our country," said Brennan.

Since his story appeared in Sports Illustrated, Collins has received an outpouring of support from across the nation, including from President Obama.

"I think a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues to see a role model like that who is unafraid  I think its a great thing," said Obama.

Reaction to Collins' announcement from NBA league officials and fellow players was also positive.

"He's always been a great guy.  He's always been a great teammate," said NBA player Mike Conley.

"I think it's fantastic that he's taking such a positive and influential role as a spokesperson in many respects," said player Steve Nash.

"If he plays another year, that is going to be a defining moment in the NBA or in professional sports, because you are going to have an openly gay man in a male dominated locker room," said former NBA player Cedric Maxwell.

Collins, a 34-year-old, 2.13-meter-tall center, finished this season with the Washington Wizards and has played for five other NBA teams.  He wants to continue playing and says he is not worried about what happens when he hopefully steps back on the court.

"From my teammates I'm expecting support, because that's what I would do for my teammates," she said.

Collins is now a free agent, and he is looking for a new contract to play in the NBA next season.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid