Unless you’ve been living under a rock, a media fire storm erupted Monday when 11-year NBA veteran, Jason Collins came out about being gay in an article in Sports Illustrated. While some like President Obama and the First Lady, former teammates, other athletes and celebrities offered their support, there are a handful that are publicly announcing their disdain for Collins’ actions and timing, like ESPN’s Chris Broussard who called Collins a “sinner” during an interview on Monday.
Tuesday morning we got a glimpse into how Collins is feelings during the aftermath as he sat down with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos for his first interview since his reveal.
“I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life,” Collins said. “A huge weight has been lifted. I’ve already been out to my family and my friends, but just to, you know, sort of rip the Band-Aid off and come out on my own terms.”
The Wizards center said that he choose to wait until the season was over to make the announcement so that he wouldn’t be a distraction to his teammates and the organization.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” said Collins. “I never set out to be the first. Obviously you’re sort of waiting around for someone else to raise their hand. And, you know, I’m ready to raise my hand, but you still look around like, okay, come on guys.”
During the interview Collins also talked about the significance of wearing #98 while with the Celtics and now with the Wizards. He says it is his own tribute to Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in 1998.
“Each time I put on jersey 98 this past season, I was already sort of having this moment with myself, with my family, with my friends who knew the significance of why I picked that number,” he explained. “Jersey 98 for Matthew Shepard. That’s why I wore jersey 98. And also to mess with the refs, because I do have a tendency to foul a lot. But the primary reason, every time I put on that jersey, I was already making that statement to myself.”
This story is going to continue to make headlines for months to come. While some say this story or the choice that Collins has made doesn’t affect them personally, the great thing about this story is that someone has been affected and is helping them be the happiest that they have ever been in their life.
Your Jersey Girlfriend,