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Wizards center Jason Collins becomes first openly gay pro athlete

April 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, April 30 (UPI) -- Washington Wizards center Jason Collins said revealing he is gay has lifted a huge weight from his shoulders.

The NBA player told ABC News in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he hopes other gay athletes will "raise their hand" and realize that being gay in pro sports in not that big of a deal.

"I know that I, right now, am the happiest I've ever been in my whole life," Collins said. "A huge weight has been lifted."

Collins first revealed his homosexuality in an article published on the Sports Illustrated website Monday.

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," the first-person article began.

Collins will officially become a free agent this summer and he wants to keep playing in the NBA.

He shrugged off the notion that more pressure will be placed on him to land a contract with an NBA team in light of his announcement.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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