After sparking headlines all across the country as the first active player in a major sport to come out as gay, NBA center Jason Collins seemed, well, relieved during his interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.
“There’s nothing more beautiful…than allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin,” Collins said. He also recounted the supportive phone call he got from President Obama.
Collins acknowledged that his uniform number, 98, was a quiet pledge to gay solidarity. He says his family and friends understood it was a tribute to Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was tortured and killed in a hate crime in Wyoming in 1998.
And oh yeah, the high number served another purpose: “To mess with the refs because I have a tendency to foul a lot.” Imagine all the hand signals the zebras have to give the scoring table to call a foul on #98.
Stephanopoulos ventured that Collins’ aggressive playing style contradicted gay stereotypes. The big man confirmed that was part of his reason for coming out, that and “letting people know you can’t just put somebody in a box.”
Obviously Collins didn’t see the season finale of The Following last night