NBA veteran center Jason Collins comes out as gay

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Advocacy organization GLAAD released a statement from Aaron McQuade, the head of its sports program.

“Courage’ and `inspiration’ are words that get thrown around a lot in sports, but Jason Collins has given both ideas a brand new context,” he said. “We hope that his future team will welcome him, and that fans of the NBA and sports in general will applaud him. We know that the NBA will proudly support him, and that countless young LGBT athletes now have a new hero.”

As a senior at Stanford, Collins was a college roommate for about six months with then-sophomore Joe Kennedy III, who now represents Massachusetts in Congress. In his account, Collins writes that he realized he needed to go public when the Democratic congressman walked in Boston’s gay pride parade last year _ and Collins decided he couldn’t join him.

“I didn’t doubt for a second, knowing he was gay, that he would be the one to do it,” Kennedy told the AP on Monday. “I’ve never known him to look for publicity, or to look for the spotlight, but given that no one else would raise their hand, I knew he would do it.”

Added Kennedy: “I’m so proud of him. And I’m so proud to call him a friend.”

In Monday’s story, Collins writes that the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 “reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”

And now, Collins and Kennedy say, they will be in Boston on June 8, marching together at the city’s 2013 gay pride parade.

“Some people insist they’ve never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore. Pro basketball is a family. And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister or cousin who’s gay,” Collins concludes. “In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who’s out.”

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AP Sports Writers Joseph White, Nancy Armour, Larry Lage, Brian Mahoney, Antonio Gonzalez, Rachel Cohen, Paul Newberry, Jimmy Golen, Howard Ulman, Rob Harris, Steve Wilson, Richard Rosenblatt and Tom Withers, and Associated Press Writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Cara Rubinsky, Jennifer Agiesta, Steve Peoples, Josh Lederman and Terry Chea contributed to this report.

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Howard Fendrich is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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