by April 30, 2013 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome, email him at [email protected].

"Jason Collins"

Jason Collins makes NBA and professional sports history. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Wow. I won’t lie. Just writing that headline made me a bit emotional. However, I think the writing was on the wall for an event like this. The fact that it happened is an immense step toward equality and progress in our great land.

If you have not heard, former Washington Wizard Jason Collins just penned an article for Sports Illustrated where he described himself as “a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

While in women’s professional sports this is technically not as big of a deal, in the men’s sporting world, it is a different story. The four major leagues all are generally known for rampant homophobia, masculinity, and a fairly hostile environment for men who don’t fit the norm.

Retired male professional athletes have come and told the world they are gay — but this is the first time an active player has done so.

When you live in a place like Borderstan where gay and straight people live openly and easily together, it is easy to forget that we live in a bubble. A very nice bubble, of course, but a bubble. Collins made more than sports history yesterday. He made history for all of us.

Jason Collins is no All Star, but he is considered a “pros’ pro,” which means a team player, the guy who works hard and someone who everyone respects. Many great players have battled along side Jason. With his story out there, I am hoping a lot of his old teammates rethink their own views and perhaps take a stand for LGBT rights — especially in men’s professional sports.

There has been no immediate fallout except praise and understanding. Fellow athletes (including Kobe Bryant) have come out in support. Others have not. I know that in my younger days a team locker room would have been a rough place for Jason’s courage. It is my wish that my children won’t grow up in the same world, thanks to heroes like Collins.

This is a story of immense courage and risk, and hopefully it inspires others to not make a leap of faith, but to feel comfortable in knowing the world will love you equally for scoring a touchdown or loving who you choose to love.

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