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Jason Collins, the 35-year-old basketball star who announced last year that he was gay, has joined the roster of the Brooklyn Nets.

According to reports, Collins signed a 10-day contract today, making him the first openly-gay NBA player and athlete in North America’s four major professional sports.

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“The signing is a significant step in transforming American professional sports into a welcoming environment for gay athletes. No N.B.A. game has ever taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The N.F.L., Major League Baseball and the N.H.L. — which round out the continent’s four traditional major sports leagues — have also never had an publicly gay participant,” the New York Times reports. “The very act of Collins’s suiting up and stepping onto the court, then, would represent a milestone in the effort to change a sports culture that some feel has lagged far behind society at large in acceptance of gay people.”

Collins first game will be against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center tonight.

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“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” he wrote in a coming-out essay in the April 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated. “But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.”

Congrats on the milestone, Collins!


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