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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
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.
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.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid