"I'm A 34-Year-Old NBA Center. I'm Black. And I'm Gay."
With those words, Jason Collins starts his coming-out story, which has set the world on fire today like a burning hoop that shines a beacon for the future of honesty in sports.
Collins talks about never wanting to be the one who's "different," but finding himself in that role and grappling with what to do about it.
He's open about having had relationships with women, as he lived in fear in the closet, not sure of how to break into honesty.
He speaks about his envy when an old friend marched for gay rights while Jason himself couldn't even cheer him on, for fear of being "found out."
And he talks about the Boston bombings and what they signaled in terms of the need for urgent action--i.e., his coming out--even if not done with utter perfection.
But I'd say he's achieved that goal pretty perfectly. In fact, I never cared much about sports until now. And I'm thrilled that an athlete has come out while at the top of his game, not after the last whistle has blown and he's been pushed to the sidelines.
I also admire Collins for saying he can stand heckling about this because he's been heckled before. Between you and me, any jeers will be way drowned out by the bravos. They already have been.