Jason Collins has become the first active athlete playing a major sport in America to reveal he is gay.

The 34-year-old has played in the NBA for 11 seasons, featuring for no fewer than six teams - most recently with the Washington Wizards.

He came out in an article with Sports Illustrated, saying: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA centre. I'm black. And I'm gay.

"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.'

"If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

Collins went on to say that the recent Boston bombings had convinced him to come out publicly, stating: "Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?" 

Since the article was made public, Collins has had support from a number of high-profile names, including Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant, who both tweeted the star.

Collins is currently a free agent but has stated that he would like to continue playing, having reached the NBA finals twice in his career.

Former British star John Amaechi became the first NBA player to come out in 2007, but he had already retired from the game.

More recently, USA footballer Robbie Rogers retired from the game at just 25-years-old in February after coming out as gay.


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