Jason Collins, the first up-front homosexual competing in one of North America’s big four professional sports leagues, has announced his retirement. The Brooklyn Nets celebrate Collins at Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center.
Collins struggled in his return to the court late last season after announcing his sexuality. He averaged beneath a triple-single in points, rebounds, and assists. But his team rebounded from its early-season struggles to make a strong run with Collins on the roster logging minutes.
Collins, who revealed his homosexuality in Sports Illustrated, revealed his retirement there, too. The 35-year-old big man lamented:
There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist. 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 finishes his career after 14 NBA seasons averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.