Jason Collins is NBA's first openly gay player

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Twelve-year veteran Jason Collins is the first active NBA player to announce that he is gay, revealing the news in a Sports Illustrated exclusive.

Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran center, announced he is gay in an exclusive article in Sports Illustrated. The soon-to-be free agent, who has played for six teams in his NBA career, is the first player in the four major professional sports to come out during his playing career.

Collins writes that he first thought about coming out in 2011, during the NBA lockout. That period of his life "wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want," he writes. At that point, he confronted his aunt to tell her the news. He then thought about coming out publicly after a college roomate marched in the 2012 Boston Gay Pride parade. Collins was playing for the Celtics at the time. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing convinced him that the time was right, which prompted the news.

Collins is the first player to come out during his playing career. Center John Amaechi came out in 2007, four years after his final season in the NBA.

Collins says he wants to continue playing past this season. He is a free agent, though, and will have to be signed to continue his career. Collins finished the season with the Washington Wizards after being dealt from the Celtics at the trade deadline.

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