Jason Collins is the first active male athlete in one of the four major North American sports to announce he is gay. When you see it in writing or say it aloud, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Remember though, none of the thousands of baseball, basketball, football, or hockey players had ever come out before. It’s a big deal.
That is not to undermine the other gay athletes who have paved the way. Collins acknowledged as much in his thoughtful essay in Sports Illustrated this week. Collins, since he is still in the league, has taken it a step further. Others will follow his lead. A gay friend told me she applauds Collins’ courage but looks forward to the day when an athlete coming out is not a news item at all.
Those questioning Collins’ motives are, at best, overly cynical. This is not a publicity stunt, nor is it a carefully crafted plan to extend his basketball career. If no NBA team wants him next season, he won’t sue the league for discrimination. He says he doesn’t even plan to write a book. Why did Collins come out now, near the tail end of his career? How is that a fair question? Straight people never have to think about when to come out as straight. As an invisible minority, Collins could have gone his whole life without publicly revealing his sexual orientation.
Posted by Andrew Kahn on May 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm
If you could become any basketball player for a day, whom would you choose? Jordan? Magic? Shaq? A few years ago, this would have been a more interesting question. Did you want to score? Distribute? Dominate inside? Now, you don’t really have to choose. One player gives you all of these things.
I asked a bunch of my hoop-playing friends who they’d like to become. There were conditions: the transformation would be similar to how the aliens become the Monstars in Space Jam—you’d get your chosen player’s size and skill but maintain your personality and facial features. And you’d only get those attributes for a day. In other words, it’s all about ball, not fame or fortune.
Posted by Andrew Kahn on July 31, 2012 at 11:24 am
Scott Machado was not drafted but is playing summer league with the Rockets. (Credit: ICGaels.com)
There are worse things in the world than not being selected in the NBA Draft—like being selected in the NBA Draft.
“If the team is very excited about the player, that’s good. But if the team is just taking a flyer on a guy [late in the second round], I’d rather have him go undrafted,” said Mark Bartelstein, an agent at Priority Sports with as many NBA clients as anyone.
Posted by Andrew Kahn on July 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm