The first openly gay player in the National Basketball Association announced his retirement yesterday.
Jason Collins, who made headlines and even earned a special phone call from President Barack Obama when he announced to the world who he preferred to have sex with, announced his decision to retire on Sports Illustrated's SI.com.
“It has been 18 exhilarating months since I came out in ‘Sports Illustrated’ as the first openly gay man in one of the four major professional team sports. And it has been nine months since I signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay male athlete to appear in a game in one of those leagues.
“It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history.”
“The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: ‘Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.’”
Collins played 22 games for the Nets last season after the Brooklyn team signed him post-announcement. He made little to no impact on the team (or any other pro team) as a player. Nevertheless, the Nets honored him at Wednesday's game:
Nets honor Jason Collins, who earlier today announced his retirement from the NBA. pic.twitter.com/SAcKNkb38v— Tom Lorenzo (@TomLorenzo) November 20, 2014
Never before has a mediocre player of any sport been honored upon the announcement of his retirement. But Jason Collins is special, apparently.