NBA center Jason Collins made headlines this week when he became the first active professional athlete from one of the four major sports to come out of the closet. It turns out that not only did he consult his family before making this decision, but he also spoke with *NSYNC singer Lance Bass, who came out of the closet in 2006.
Bass revealed on his Sirius XM show Dirty Pop that Collins reached out because they have a mutual friend in actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher, who is married to professional baseball player Nick Swisher.
“He’s been trying to plan this for a very long time, contemplating if he wanted to do this,” says Bass, of Collins’ coming out. “In fact, he said he was going to call me months ago but was too scared, because he wanted to tell me.”
“I gave him some very good advice today because of course everybody wants to interview him … and he was figuring out who would get that first sit down … I was like, ‘So, how is your day going?’ and he was like, ‘Well, just got off the phone with two presidents and Oprah, so pretty good.'”
“I told him, look — this is what I wish would have happened when I came out,” says Bass. “When I came out, I had 24 hours to decide what was going to happen, because basically the magazine said, ‘We’re doing it with or without you.’ … what I wish I could have done back then was to have a couple days to sit down with HRC, sit down with GLAAD.”
“I gave him some really great connections,” Bass continues. “He’s going to sit down with GLAAD today … and get some really good information … so he doesn’t put his foot in his mouth, say something that he’s going to regret. This will live for the rest of his life, and he’ll always have this first sit-down to look back on — and he wants to make sure it’s good.”
Collins’ first sit-down was actually with “Good Morning America,” where he tells George Stephanopoulos, “I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my
life. 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.”