John Amaechi Discusses Jason Collins' Decision to Come Out with CNN

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IApril 29, 2013

NBA center Jason Collins made headlines on Monday morning when it was announced that he was the first active male player in a major American team sport to openly identify himself as gay.

Of course, Collins isn't the first gay NBA player overall. While this announcement opens the door for progression in sports, it was John Amaechi who helped pave the road for Collins over six years ago.

In 2007, the former NBA veteran became the first professional basketball player to come out—just four years after he retired from the sport. 

As such, Amaechi knows a little bit about what Collins is about to go through, and spoke a little bit about it in the video above. 

The most encouraging part of the interview comes in the opening moments when Amaechi states that for most teams, "this is a non-issue." 

When it comes down to it, organizations will look to Collins as a veteran big man, a solid role player and an important locker-room presence more than anything else.

There's no question that Collins is an important position as a trailblazer for the LGBT community, and where his career goes from here will be closely watched, but Amaechi's almost nonchalant response represents an idea of where we can hope the sports world is in the very near future:

A place where this is a non-story, and where athletes are able to openly express their sexual orientation without anyone caring one way or another. 

Of course, Amaechi warns us that one iconic figure—Collins—isn't enough to bring about change. It takes a group of people.

Nevertheless, Collins is in the perfect position to act as—in Amaechi's words—a catalyst. 

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