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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid