What I learnt from Jason Collins - NBA's first active gay player

Heard Jason Collins, NBA's first active gay player at the Los Angeles LGBT Center last week. Jason was in conversation with Chris Kluwe, a former NFL player who's advocacy for gay rights lead to his dismissal. Chris said that any closeted player would not be able to play to their full potential if they weren't able to be entirely themselves. The moderator asked Jason if he would he have been a better player through his career if he had come out earlier.

Jason said that in the NBA, the star players with the spotlight on them are those that score points. He excelled as a defender, though when he played offensively he wouldn't be anywhere near as good.

Jason admitted that he he didn't want to be exposed as a good offensive player that netted shots. He didn't want the spotlight - hence excelling as an defender and a "team player"... not a star.

He would worry about the attention he would receive if he did score points, that the press would then ask questions about his personal life. He didn't want the press to pry into the fact that he was 30 with no girlfriend. And he didn't want to lie about a girlfriend that was out of town that couldn't show up to games.

This, in addition to remaining silent when homophobic conversations were had in locker rooms.

He's adamant that's this is the reason why he couldn't be a better offensive player.

Self sabotage shaped by the society we live in.