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Jason Collins: ‘I’m comin out!’

I’m coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
I’m coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show
– Diana Ross’s hit, “I’m Comin’ Out”

Jason Collins became the first professional basketball player to come out as being gay. In an interview the 34-year-old center from Northridge, California stated that he’d “endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie.” Collins became the first active player in one of the four major U.S. pro sports to publicly come out of the closet. The article about his announcement in the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated opens this way: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

The 7-foot Collins – a 12-year veteran of the NBA who’s currently on the roster of the Washington Wizards – became the first male athlete in a major North American professional league to come out while intending to keep on playing. Others have come out but only after retiring. Rick Welts of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors is openly gay, but he works up in the front office, not down on the court. Welts is the Warriors’ president and chief operating officer, and he’s glad to see an active player do what Collins did.

“There had been a long bit of speculation about when, who, how. I think that speculation has been put to rest now,” Welts said, “‘and we’ll always remember that Jason Collins was the first man to do this.”

President Barack Obama called Collins to congratulate him. During his April 30th press conference Obama restated his support for “equal rights for all.” And NBA Commissioner David Stern applauded Collins’ announcement. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career,” Stern said, “and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.” Even Kobe Bryant, who had uttered a terrible homophobic slur in 2011, tweeted his support.

“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start,” Collins wrote. “It all comes down to education. I’ll sit down with any player who’s uneasy about my coming out. Still, if I’m up against an intolerant player, I’ll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.”

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A Celebration of Black Icons in Dance

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join Classical Dance Trailblazer, Charles Haislah, The Creative Arts Academy, and CFAC-DanceLab for an evening of captivating performances and dance history. This event is free and open to the community!

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