Boston Red Sox Welcome Gay NBA Player Jason Collins to Toss out First Pitch

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJune 6, 2013

Jason Collins will get the festivities started for the Boston Red Sox and their fans headed to Fenway Park for "Pride Night."

WEEI (h/t NBC Sports) reports that the former Boston Celtics player, who last played for the Washington Wizards, will toss out the first pitch. 

The honor goes to Collins on "Pride Night," which will take place Thursday in a game against the Texas Rangers. For more information, you can visit the website of Boston Pride, an organization that "produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond."

Last month, Collins wrote a historic and emotional piece for Sports Illustrated wherein he proclaimed that he was in fact gay, making him the first openly gay athlete active in a major American sport. 

The plaudits came from all corners, including from the baseball world. More specifically, the Red Sox tossed out this tweet as a means of hat tipping the courage Collins displayed.

The report states the first pitch also coincides with the Boston Pride Parade that takes place Saturday, an event the basketball player will walk in with his former Stanford roommate, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. 

As for Collins, he is certainly enjoying life after coming out and said as much in an interview with The Boston Globe

It’s been incredible over the past month. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m meeting all kinds of wonderful people, and the support has been overwhelming.

It’s been kind of surreal that I’m either calling or texting back and forth with these famous people. It’s nothing but love and support.

While there are those who never fully embraced the announcement, and some who never will, the outpouring of support was amazing for Collins. 

The NY Daily News covered the large swath of reactions, from the negative to the overtly positive. Now he gets to do the one thing he has always wanted: celebrate who he is in public, and he said as much in the same Boston Globe interview

I knew coming out that I was going to walk with my old college roommate, and getting to throw the first pitch out is sort of icing on the cake. I saw that Joe had participated in the parade last summer and I was very proud of him. I was also partly jealous.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been to a Pride parade. Joe has told me, ‘Prepare for anything.’ I’m looking forward to a brand new experience and really seeing the community celebrate who we are. That sense of acceptance will be a lot of fun.

On Thursday night, fans around Fenway will cheer on Collins, who took a giant step forward in his personal life. He gave strength to a lot of people who may have been going through similar struggles. 

While many will applaud and smile at the amazing and brave athlete, nobody will be happier than Collins, who gets to stand in front of thousands as himself. 


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