Jason Collins came out as gay at the end of the 2012-13 NBA season after spending that spring with the Wizards. In doing so, he became the first active male athlete in one of America's four major pro sports to publically identify as gay.
But before he told the sports world, he told the Clintons. That's right, those Clintons, whose daughter Chelsea he befriended as a college freshman at Stanford.
Collins revealed that he'd confided in the former first family during a speech at the Democratic National Convention Monday night.
“Before I came out to the world on the cover of Sports llustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family," the 7-foot center declared to the audience at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. "I have known their family for almost 20 years. I knew that they would accept me for who I was; and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same.
"I am forever grateful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support. They know that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or HER ability to lead our nation.”
Collins was never a star in the NBA, but carved out a 13-year career for himself as a contributor before retiring with the Nets in 2014.
“My dream was to play in the NBA and live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time,” Collins said. “I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life.”
“As both an African American and a member of the LGBT community, the choice for continued progress is clear: This November, we must elect Hillary Clinton as our next president. Thank you.”
You can watch video of the speech here.
Jason Collins: Before I came out to the world on "Sports Illustrated," I came out privately to the Clinton family https://t.co/onWqZnaqKg— CNN (@CNN) July 26, 2016