Jason Collins Announces Retirement from the NBA

by November 19, 2014
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Veteran big man Jason Collins announced his retirement from the NBA Wednesday morning, in a pair of engrossing first-person accounts.

Collins became famous last season after coming out as the first openly gay player in American pro team sports.

Collins played for six teams during a 13-year career, set a lot of bruising picks, and posted career averages of 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Per The Players’ Tribune:

Today, I am retiring from the NBA after 13 seasons. Most people reading this probably don’t know me from SportsCenter. Most people know me as “the gay basketball player.” I have been an openly gay man for approximately three percent of my life. I have been a professional basketball player for almost half of it.

 

In order to understand why I am so lucky to be sitting here today as a person who is finally comfortable in his own skin, you need to understand how basketball saved me. I needed to live the past few years as an openly gay basketball player in order to be at peace retiring today. Why? It starts on a bus and ends on a plane.

 

“Hey Jason … Jason! How come we never see you with any women? Are you gay?” […] The team bus was uncomfortably silent. Everybody from the front of the bus to the back heard the question. It wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. In sports, guys bust each other’s balls all the time. I had been asked that question a few different times by teammates in my previous years in the league, but this time was different. Whenever guys would go out on the town on road trips, I always had a built-in excuse—a trip to a local casino or a visit to a family friend or a college buddy in that city who I had to go see. Sometimes those friends were real. Sometimes I made them up and would sit alone in the hotel watching TV while the guys went out to enjoy the nightlife.