WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Jason Collins, a professional basketball player with the National Basketball Association's Washington Wizards, has revealed he is gay in an article in by SI.com The Magazine due out on May 6.
Collins, 34, a graduate of Stanford University and 11-year NBA veteran, is the first American professional male athlete in a major sport to say he is gay.
"I am black and I am gay," Collins is quoted in the article. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in major American team sport, but since I am. I'm happy to start the conversation."
Former President Bill Clinton, a Chappaqua resident, praised Collins in a statement issued Monday afternoon. He said he has known Collins as a classmate of his daughter, Chelsea, while she was at Stanford.
"Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities," Clinton's statement said.
Clinton later tweeted, "I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend."
Collins, a center, has also played for the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics.