Washington Wizards center Jason Collins made headlines today as the first openly gay NBA player -- and the first openly gay athlete on a major American team sport.

In a self-penned Sports Illustrated article, Jason wrote, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Jason came out to his twin brother Jarron, also a NBA player, last summer. The first relative he came out to was his aunt Teri, who told him, "I've known you were gay for years." That revelation gave Jason a sense of relief.

Other NBA players have publicly supported Jason. Kobe Bryant tweeted, "Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others."

Tony Parker added, "Really hope people will RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is."

Jason now joins the ranks of elite athletes who are out and proud, from Olympic champions to Grand Slam winners. Click on the "Launch Gallery" link below to see more openly gay athletes:


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