NBA center Jason Collins made headlines last week when he became the first active player in one of America’s four major sports to come out as gay. Following the coming out, Collins and his family sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about groundbreaking announcement.
Oprah posits that due to the overwhelmingly positive response, does he wish he had come out sooner?
“Part of me, yes. I felt that I couldn’t do it until the season was over … out of respect to my teammates,” says Colllins.
But now that he has officially come out, he says it’s such a relief.
“For the past couple mornings when I’ve woken up, I haven’t felt better in my life. It takes a toll on you when you live a lie,” says Collins. “You buy your cover story. But it’s tiring … you know the sky is blue, but you keep telling yourself that it’s red. It’s illogical, but you just believe it so much that you try to live that lie.”
“You try to achieve those things you think you’re supposed to … and by doing that, I was sacrificing my happiness,” says Collins.
Oprah then wonders about the fear of being outed by someone else and how could his former fiancee Carolyn Moos not even know.
“I was good at perpetuating that lie and wearing that mask. So I didn’t really have a fear of that,” says Collins. “[With Carolyn] I hadn’t reached acceptance with myself … it really is going through the 12 steps of denial and shame and anger and all that. I hadn’t reached acceptance yet.”
“Subconsciously or something … deep down, [I knew] you can’t go through with this,” says Collins. “Ultimately I made the right decision. I wish that I would have told her the complete truth at that time … but I wasn’t there yet.”
In turning to Collins’ Christianity, he says that he was born the way he is and that it has to be part of God’s plan.
“We’re all God’s children, God has a plan for us all … we all share in God’s love for each other. Forr me, it’s always been about acceptance and tolerance and … that greater understanding of different people’s perspectives and accepting them for who they are,” says Collins.