Newly out NBA baller Jason Collins sat down for a 90-minute interview on Sunday night’s episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” Collins said he’s proud to be the first active male athlete in a major U.S. sport to come out as gay, but he still wants to keep his private life, well, private.
“I’m making a big declaration, but also trying to remain as private in my private life as possible,” he said, after revealing that he decided to wait until the end of the season to disclose the news. “I think you more than most can attest to, ‘Yes, you’re a public figure, but we have private lives.”
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When Oprah asked how he plans to “first step out with a partner” with his “7-foot self,” he said “I’m going to try.”
“But now, I know, I don’t have to worry when I do step out. I won’t be outed. I’ve already raised my hand in the classroom and said yes,” he said.
The 34-year-old athlete went on to say that he was in “so much angst” about “making a decision like this.” But, he is extremely grateful to have a supportive family.
Collins’ parents Paul and Portia also spoke to Oprah. They admitted they were shocked by the news but still wholeheartedly supported him.
“Part of the process, after he told us, was to go home and kind of let it resonate, for the two of us to talk about it,” Portia said. “And on the way home we called him. And on the way home we said, ‘We love you.’”
His father said he was forced the change his thoughts of Jason’s future. “You have these things [that you think about]: ‘He’ll eventually get married.’ ‘He’s waiting for the end of his career to do that,’ ” Paul said. “And you just expect that that’s going to happen. ‘He’ll have children,’ and whatever it might be. And then … you change from that.”