Jason Collins, NBA’s First Openly Gay Player, Announces Retirement

Having made history, Jason Collins is calling it quits from the NBA and moving on to the next chapter of his life.

Collins, the first openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport, has announced his retirement. Writing for Sports Illustrated, Collins said he would make his announcement official Wednesday at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, with whom Collins appeared in 22 games last season.

“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,” Collins said.

“It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction,” he continued. “I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest.”

Collins announced his sexuality in April 2013, just months after the Boston Celtics traded him to the Washington Wizards. He spoke with then-Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce before making his announcement, and his former Celtics teammates expressed universal support for his decision. Rivers called Collins “one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room.”

Retiring from basketball does not mean Collins will cease to be in the public eye, however. [tweet https://twitter.com/GwashburnGlobe/status/535080687498723328 align=’center’]

Collins, 35, played 13 seasons in the NBA with six teams. He averaged 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for his career.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images

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