NBA player Jason Collins: 'I'm black. And I'm gay.'

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Today in Sports Illustrated, 34-year-old basketball player Jason Collins became, as he puts it, "the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport." Rumors have been swirling for weeks that four players in the National Football League would make a similar joint announcement, and the National Hockey League just signed a formal partnership with a sexual-equality sports organization, but Collins beat them all to the punch for the real thing.

As for his reason for doing it now, the NBA journeyman says it was in part a casualty of his routine being disrupted by the league lock-out, and in part because recent events made him realize how short time is.

"The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect," Collins wrote. "Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? ...

"No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time."

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