Blazers Express Support For Wizards UFA C Jason Collins, Who Revealed That He Is Gay

USA TODAY Sports

Members of the Portland Trail Blazers expressed their support for Washington Wizards center Jason Collins, who has revealed that he is gay.

Members of the Portland Trail Blazers expressed their support for Washington Wizards center Jason Collins, who revealed that he is gay in a Sports Illustrated story with Franz Lidz this week. Collins, a 12-year pro who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, becomes the first active, openly-gay male athlete in one of America's four major professional sports leagues.

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay. I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

Blazers forward Nicolas Batum...

Blazers guard Nolan Smith...

Former Blazers forward Martell Webster, now with the Wizards...

Former Blazers assistant coach Bill Bayno, to Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post...

Collins' twin brother, Jarron, also spent 10 years in the NBA, including five games with the Blazers during the 2010-11 season. He provided his thoughts to Sports Illustrated as well, indicating that he was not aware that his twin brother was gay until 2012.

"I had no idea. We talked, he answered my questions, I hugged him and I digested what he had told me. At the end of the day, this is what matters: He's my brother, he's a great guy, and I want him to be happy. I'll love him and I'll support him and, if necessary, I'll protect him. ... Jason has taken a huge weight off his shoulders. And I've never been more proud of him."

Thanks to jeff-b for posting the Collins story in the FanShots this morning.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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