Before the Brooklyn Nets take the court against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, the NBA’s first and only openly gay player will announce his retirement from the game. He discussed his past in great detail in a personal letter to Derek Jeter’s website The Player’s Tribune. In the letter he mentions a teammate (who remains unnamed) that gave him a gift on a bus trip between games.
An uncomfortable moment arose on the bus when another player jokingly asked Collins about his sexual orientation, and the other player pipes up with a simple response: “He’s not gay, I saw him out with a girl last night!”
Collins then admits in the letter that the other player probably probably didn’t see him out: he was throwing him a lifeline. While coming out is critically important to the social development of character, Collins wasn’t ready and this was certainly not the right environment. Picking the right time to say it is just as important as what you’re saying, and no one should be forced.
The game is at 7:30 ET Wednesday, November 19th, where Collins will likely have a ceremony in his name.