NBA’s First Openly Gay Player Set to Retire

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, Jason Collins announced his retirement from the NBA via a Sports Illustrated article. Jason has made history during his 13-year career playing professional basketball, but not for his personal stats.

It wasn’t until last April when history was made; Jason took the cover of Sports Illustrated for being the first NBA player to publicly come out about being gay. The majority of Jason’s professional career became very stressful as he was always unable to be himself and when he got traded, he had to create a new cover. He has stated that he feels a great deal of relief for being able to truly be himself after publicly coming out as gay.

Although, he only came out last year as an openly gay man, in his final seasons playing in the NBA he wore number 98 in memory of Matthew Shepard. Shepard who was killed in 1998, was an openly gay college student from Wyoming. During a game in Denver last season, Collins had the honor to meet Shepard’s family who were very grateful for honoring Matthew.

His career started by being selected  in the first round of the NBA draft as an eighteenth pick by the Houston Rockets in 2001. Then traded to what was formerly the New Jersey Nets, where he will end  with the now Brooklyn Nets. Through his career he has played for Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. He will finish his career as a center with an average of 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

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