NBA star’s decision to admit he’s gay could impact young athletes

sports illustrated gay coverSAN DIEGO — NBA player Jason Collins made headlines Monday when he became the first openly gay active athlete in the four major American pro team sports.

Collins revealed the news in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated. The magazine will hit newsstands May 6, but the article is already available online.

In the article, Collins shares, “The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”

The decision to admit he’s gay could have a big impact on young athletes struggling with their sexuality.

Former NBA player John Olive spoke to Fox 5 Monday about Collins decision to come out. Olive is currently a teacher and men’s basketball coach at Torrey Pines High School.

“I think it’s good for them,” said Olive. “To see the courage that it took to come out like that and say something.”

Rick Jackson, teacher and men’s football coach at James Madison High school, agreed.

“I think the impact it will have is,” said Jackson. “It will help people understand that it’s ok to be who you are. I think that’s a big thing is kids trying to find their identity and figure out where they fit in. So, when this happens it gives kind of the momentum for kids to at least understand that they’re normal and move forward.”

Though times are changing, there will still be some resistance for young gay athletes. But Olive said he believes the public will continue to become more accepting.

“I do think we’re getting better,” said Olive. “I think that people are more open with themselves and with others, we probably still have a ways to go but we’ve obviously come a long way too.”