Jason Collins Says ‘Huge Weight’ Lifted After Becoming First Openly Gay Major Pro Athlete

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“I hope that every player makes a decision that leads to their own happiness,” Collins told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview Monday night.

“I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “A huge weight has been lifted. I’ve already been out to my family and my friends, but just to, you know, sort of rip the Band-Aid off and come out on my own terms.”

By shattering one of the final barriers in U.S. sports, Collins said he hopes other gay athletes will “raise their hand” and realize that being gay in pro sports is not that big of a deal.

“You’re sort of waiting around for somebody else to ? raise their hand,” he said. “I’m ready to raise my hand but, you know, you still look around like, ‘OK, come on, guys.’ It’s time for someone else in the room to raise their hand and say, ‘You know what? Yeah, so big deal. I can still play basketball. I can still help the team win, and that’s what’s most important.’”

Collins revealed his homosexuality in an article published on Sports Illustrated’s website Monday

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