Openly gay NBA player has ties to Troy

Posted at: 04/29/2013 6:18 PM | Updated at: 04/29/2013 8:39 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

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TROY - On the court Jason Collins has been a force for 12 seasons, playing on teams ranging from the Boston Celtics to the New Jersey Nets, and most recently the Washington Wizards. 

Now he's famous for something off the court -- becoming the first active player among the four major team sports to admit his homosexuality.

"It took a lot of courage. I applaud Jason for raising his hand and coming out," said Pastor Willie Bacote of the Missing Link Street Ministry.

Bacote knows Collins personally from the years when the NBA player coached basketball camps in Troy.

In July 2007 Collins told NewsChannel 13 that he's always gravitated toward challenge.

"When I was growing up, when I was these kids' age, I was always going up against kids who were bigger and stronger. That's why I like going against the best. Shaquille O'Neal was the best and it's always a challenge. I like challenges," Collins said.

After Collins came out in the current of Sports Illustrated, local gay rights activists hoped his act will change stereotypes and break down barriers, not only for other athletes.

"I think it's very courageous because traditionally sports and athletics have been hyper-masculine, reinforcing general stereotypes of what it means to be masculine and macho and a man. And I think this will break down some of those," said Phillip Burse, director of LGBT Victim Services for "In Our Own Voices."


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