Jason Collins is a retired American professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Collins attended Stanford University, where he was an All-American in the 2000-2001 season. He was also named to the All Pac-10 First Team and awarded the NABC Pete Newell “Big Man of the Year” Award. He finished his college career ranked first in Stanford history for field goal percentage and third in blocked shots. Upon graduating with a B.A. from Stanford, Collins was selected in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft with the 18th overall pick.
A retired 13-year veteran, Collins has played center for seven teams including New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, and the Brooklyn Nets (formerly the New Jersey Nets). Doc Rivers, who coached Collins during his time with the Boston Celtics, said of Collins: “He’s the best. He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach.” In his 13 years in the league, Collins’ teams earned 10 trips to the playoffs, including 2 NBA Finals appearances.
After the 2012-13 NBA season concluded, Collins publicly came out as gay in a cover story for Sports Illustrated, becoming the first male active player in any of the four major American professional sports to announce that he is gay. President Obama expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement and said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins has traveled the country with the mission of empowering people to live their lives as their true selves and has become an active member of numerous charities, foundations, and organizations. In 2013, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, honored Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards. In 2014, Logo TV honored Collins with its inaugural Trailblazer Award. Also in 2014, the Matthew Shepard Foundation honored Collins with its Making a Difference Award at its annual Honors Gala. In April 2014, Collins was featured on the cover of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” In January of 2015, the National Civil Rights Museum honored Collins with a Sports Legacy Award.
Under the Obama administration, Collins served on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, which works to motivate Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle via physical activity and nutrition. Since retiring from playing, Collins has become a NBA Cares Ambassador — spreading goodwill on behalf of the NBA with its players, community, and corporate partners. Collins resides in Los Angeles, California.