Excerpts from NBA veteran Jason Collins' first-person account published in Sports Illustrated, as he came out as the first gay male player in the four major American professional sports:
``When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.''
``The strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Less then three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. Here was my chance to be heard, and I couldn't say a thing.''
``I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.''
``The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?''
``Now I'm a free agent, literally and figuratively. I've reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.''
``I watch as my brother and friends from college start their own families. Changing diapers is a lot of work, but children bring so much joy. I'm crazy about my nieces and nephew, and I can't wait to start a family of my own.''
``I've never sought the spotlight. Though I'm coming out to the world, I intend to guard my privacy. I'm making this blanket statement in part to keep rumors and misunderstandings at bay. I hope fans will respect me for raising my hand. And I hope teammates will remember that I've never been an in-your-face kind of guy. All you need to know is that I'm single. I see no need to delve into specifics.''
``I go against the gay stereotype, which is why I think a lot of players will be shocked: That guy is gay? But I've always been an aggressive player, even in high school. Am I so physical to prove that being gay doesn't make you soft? Who knows? That's something for a psychologist to unravel.''
``I've been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I'm a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The biggest concern seems to be that gay players will behave unprofessionally in the locker room. Believe me, I've taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn't an issue before, and it won't be one now. ... As far as the reaction of fans, I don't mind if they heckle me. I've been booed before.''
``Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start. It all comes down to education. I'll sit down with any player who's uneasy about my coming out. Being gay is not a choice. This is the tough road and at times the lonely road.''

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 520 Utah Jazz  79%
#2 512 New York Knicks  66%
#3 522 Denver Nuggets  66%
#4 513 Houston Rockets  64%
#5 502 Boston Celtics  63%
#7 506 Charlotte Hornets  60%
#8 509 Milwaukee Bucks  55%
#9 508 Atlanta Hawks  54%
#10 518 Chicago Bulls  52%

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Rockets vs. Grizzlies Prediction Fresh off their loss to the Warriors, will the Rockets lose back-to-back games when they visit the Grizzlies at 8:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Blazers vs. Celtics Prediction Are the Celtics a good bet to cover the spread coming off a loss when they host the Trail Blazers today at 5:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction The Pacers are a small favorite on the road tonight against the Lakers at 10:30PM ET. Are they a good bet to cover the spread?
Thumbnail Breakneck pace expected at Toyota Center At 33-12, Houston clearly has the attention of the basketball world. But can Mike D’Antoni’s no-holds-barred attack find success against the class of the...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Grizzlies Prediction The Grizzlies will host the Kings at 8:00PM ET tonight coming off a loss. Is Memphis a good bet to cover?

NBA Team Pages