Jason Collins has paved the way for gay athletes to come out of the closet.
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NBA free agent G/PF Jason Collins has announced his retirement from basketball. Collins is the first – and to date only – professional basketball player to come out as gay.
In April 2013, Collins announced publicly that he was gay, making him the first athlete in any of the four major American sports to publicly come out of the closet. Despite being a successful and well-respected athlete, however, Collins had trouble signing a new contract with any teams. His opportunity came in February 2014, when his former teammate Jason Kidd, then the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, signed him to a contract with the team. Collins played 22 games for the Nets that season, becoming the first openly-gay athlete in American history to play on an active sports roster.
Collins, who played 13 seasons in the NBA after being drafted out of Stanford in 1999, played 8 seasons for the Nets – 7 when they were in New Jersey and 1 in Brooklyn – as well as three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and 4 combined seasons with the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards. He has 2,621 career points.