Jason Collins (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In a story that appears in the May 6, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated, 34-year-old Washington Wizards center Jason Collins says that he didn't plan to be the first openly gay player in the league.

But since he's the new holder of that title, he took the opportunity to pen a piece on the topic that stands out as much for its insight, clarity and common sense as it does for the history-making announcement it contains.

Here are 11 highlights that, we've gotta say, transcend the world of sports and the politics of sexual orientation. And there's more where these come from.

Someone had to step up:

If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.


Don't think this has anything to do with you? Think again:

If you're in the league, and I haven't been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates' teammates. Or one of your teammates' teammates' teammates.

It's never too late to do the right thing:

I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, "Me, too."


'YOLO' applies to important issues, too:

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 world didn't end. Quite the opposite:

I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time.


Don't underestimate people. Especially family:

The hardest part of this is the realization that my entire family will be affected. But my relatives have told me repeatedly that as long as I'm happy, they're there for me.

It's not worth it to ignore injustice:

The strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Less then three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future.


If people don't take this well, it's on them:

I've been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I'm a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

The best revenge is success:

As far as the reaction of fans, I don't mind if they heckle me. I've been booed before. There have been times when I've wanted to boo myself. But a lot of ill feelings can be cured by winning.


Just watch him:

I'm a veteran, and I've earned the right to be heard. I'll lead by example and show that gay players are no different from straight ones.

He's already won:

The most you can do is stand up for what you believe in. I'm much happier since coming out to my friends and family. Being genuine and honest makes me happy.


Read more at Sports Illustrated.