Jason Collins announced his retirement from the NBA on Wednesday. The veteran center, who became the league's first openly gay player with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year, wrote columns for both Sports Illustrated and Derek Jeter's ThePlayersTribune to declare his retirement. He will also formally announce it before the Nets game with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“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,” Collins wrote on ThePlayersTribune.com. “I needed to live the past few years as an openly gay basketball player in order to be at peace retiring today.”
He also spoke about openly gay athletes across a number of sports.
“There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist," he continued writing on ThePlayersTribune. "Every pro sport has them. I know some of them personally. When we get to the point where a gay pro athlete is no longer forced to live in fear that he’ll be shunned by teammates or outed by tabloids, when we get to the point where he plays while his significant other waits in the family room, when we get to the point where he’s not compelled to hide his true self and is able to live an authentic life, then coming out won’t be such a big deal. But we’re not there yet.”
Collins, 35, played for six teams over 13 years in the NBA as a role player, who brought hard fouls and tough defense in the paint. His last stint was with the Nets toward the tail end of the 2013-14 season.
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