Brooklyn Nets centre player Jason Collins announced that he’s retiring from the NBA through a letter that appears in Sports Illustrated. The NBA’s first openly-gay player chose the same publication to go public about his sexuality 18 months earlier in April 2013.
“It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history,” he wrote for SI.
Collins goes on to thank his then-coach and friend Jason Kidd for his support when he made the decision to come out. However, he also wrote that professional sports have a long way to go when it comes to gay acceptance—the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball all lack publicly gay players.
The 35-year-old also penned an essay that appears on The Players’ Tribune. In it, Collins offers a more personal look at the challenges he faced coming out in professional sports.
Collins plans to officially announce his retirement at the Barclays Center later tonight. He played a total of 16 seasons in the NBA.
Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr/Creative Commons