Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay athlete in the four major North American professional sports, announced his plans to retire from the NBA on Wednesday afternoon. Collins will officially retire at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night, prior to the Nets game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30.
Last season Collins was signed by the Brooklyn Nets with consecutive 10-day contracts, and that eventually lead to him being signed for the rest of the season. He saw action in 22 games for Brooklyn, averaging 1.1 points per game during his stint.
This excerpt is from Collins’ formal letter he wrote to Sports Illustrated regarding his retirement:
“On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player. The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: “Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.”
“I will continue to encourage others to live an authentic life. My hope is that everyone achieves that day when you step forward and reveal your truth on your own terms.”
His return to the Association was brief, but that doesn’t take away from the veteran leadership he brought to NBA locker rooms throughout the years.
Jason Collins averaged 3.6 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game during his NBA career. In addition to the Nets, Collins played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.