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NBA player Jason Collins breaks barrier by disclosing he is gay

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At 7 feet tall, it was never easy for Jason Collins to hide when he walked the streets of Boston or ran the parquet floor for the Celtics at TD Garden. He was a million-dollar NBA center trapped in a double life.

Collins remembers the burden of having to present himself to the world as one of the guys, no different from other professional athletes — hiding the fact that he is gay. It was, he says, as if he had to press a personal “censor button” whenever he was with others.

But now he is free, feeling taller than ever after becoming the first active player in a major American sport to publicly reveal he is gay.

His landmark disclosure, in a first-person story in Sports Illustrated, signaled a new era in professional athletics and triggered an outpouring of support from Causeway Street to the White House.

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