On Wednesday Jason Collins said that he is opting to retire from the NBA, the New York Post reports. The announcement comes a year and a half after he became the first openly gay athlete actively playing in one of the four major American professional sports leagues.
“It just made perfect sense,” Collins told the Post. “The past 18 to 19 months have been incredible. I’ve grown so much as a human being.”
Collins acknowledged that at age 35—relatively old in the world of professional sports—it was just time to listen to his body and move on.
“After last season and especially over the summer, my body was talking to me like it does to all professional athletes after a certain while. It’s a young man’s game and Father Time is undefeated, and it got another one,” he said.
Collins made history last year when he came out publicly in a Sports Illustrated article. Over his more than decadelong career, he played for seven different teams, most recently the Brooklyn Nets, to which he signed on this year at the encouragement of former teammate and then-Nets coach Jason Kidd.
“I think it’s great,” Kidd told the Post. “[Collins] is a role model for a lot of people in this country and throughout the world. To have him around last [season] as a person [was great], but he knew how to play basketball.
“He wasn’t one that could jump and touch the top of the backboard, but he knew how to be a true pro, and I was very fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to play with him here as a Net, and I thought it was great for the guys to have that opportunity for what we went through last year,” the coach added.
Read more at the New York Post.