Basketball player Jason Collins has made history by becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in any of America’s major sports leagues.
Collins, 35, announced that he was gay after the 2012-2013 NBA season concluded, and has not play in the NBA until he signed a 10 day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and played against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Centre yesterday.
He told NBA.com, “I know that I can play in the NBA, and it felt good to be out there.”
While Collins focused more on his playing than the historic moment, his teammates were more forthcoming. Fellow player Paul Pierce commented, “In the society we live in, you know this was going to happen eventually.
“He is a guy who’s going to be able to open the door for so many athletes – not only in America, but around the world – to feel comfortable to come out and not feel embarrassed and feel like they’re welcomed in the sports world.”
Pierce concluded, “It isn’t about race, gender or sexuality. It’s about being a part of a team and caring for one another. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
Collins wears a number 98 jersey, a reference to the year Matthew Shepard, a gay college student was murdered.
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