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Jason Collins looks to future as Lakers celebrate their first Pride Night

As he proudly celebrated the Los Angeles Lakers’ first Pride Night when he was honored by the organization Thursday, Collins said he has been in contact with and supports other athletes who have yet to come out.

“Definitely hoped that there would be more players who would step up because I know I’m not alone,” Collins said before the Lakers played the Kings at Staples Center in a preseason game. “I’m in contact with some people who are in professional sports in the big four and aren’t ready to publicly come forward yet. My job with the NBA now is to try to create an environment that makes them feel comfortable to step forward and also to tell our allies that we need them to step forward as well.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Collins, who is a Global Ambassador and diversity advocate for the NBA, returned to the site where he played his first game as an openly gay male athlete after he signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and faced the Lakers on Feb. 23, 2014.

Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin is currently the only openly gay professional male athlete in North America after he became the second openly gay player in Major League Soccer history, following Robbie Rogers of the LA Galaxy.5

Collins praised the NBA as “the best overall with regards to being an ally” as the Lakers hosted members and supporters from the LGBTQ community and celebrated diversity, inclusion and unity. Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss showed her support by wearing a Lakers Pride Night shirt and also dyeing her hair.

Collins, though, hopes gay male athletes can come forward and receive the same reaction that many WNBA players have.

“To have it like in the WNBA, where a player like a Sue Bird can step forward, and everyone is like, ‘Great, go win that championship,'” Collins said. “And that’s exactly what she just did. Or what happened with Elena Delle Donne right before the Rio Olympics, same type thing and everyone’s like, ‘Great, nike nfl jerseys cheap china now go win a gold medal.’

“So when we’re at that day with male athletes who choose to step forward and share their true self with the world, it’s like, ‘Great, now go win a championship.’ And so we have some work to do, because throughout male professional sports, at least in North America in the top five leagues, we only have one currently out male player, and that’s in the MLS.”