The first openly gay man to play in the NBA showed up at the Democratic National Convention Monday (25 July) to sing the praises of someone who could be the first female president of the United States.
Jason Collins told the crowd in Philadelphia: ‘Hillary (Clinton) has defended the LGBT community for years…from co-sponsoring the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to helping pass the first-ever UN resolution on LGBT human rights to making sure transgender individual’s passports can reflect their true gender.’
Collins came out publicly on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2013 when he was a decade into his pro career. He retired in 2014 after playing his last season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Collins remains the only male athlete to be openly gay while playing in the four major pro American sports leagues.
‘My dream was to play in the NBA and to live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time.’ he said. ‘I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life. Before I came out to the world on the cover of Sports Illustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family. I’ve known their family for almost 20 years.’
Collins and Chelsea Clinton met during their freshman year at Stanford University.
‘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 for their unconditional support. They knew 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 shared the stage with his twin brother, Jarron, who is also a retired NBA player. It was Jarron who took on Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump by saying: ‘How do you tell your kids not to be a bully if their president is one?’