NBA star Jason Collins has revealed he came out to Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton before he opened up to the world.
Former Brooklyn Nets player Jason Collins made history in 2013 when he came out as gay on the cover of Sports Illustrated – the first US pro sports star to do so.
The player is a close family friend of the Clintons, having first met Chelsea Clinton while both were attending Stanford.
Collins gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention this week, as Hillary Clinton prepares to accept the party’s Presidential nomination.
In his speech, Collins reveals that the Clintons knew he was gay before he told the world.
He said: “My dream was to play in the NBA and live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time.
“I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life.
“Before I came out to the world on the cover of Sports illustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family.
“I have known their family for almost 20 years. I knew that they would accept me for who I was; and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same.
“I am forever grateful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support. “
He added: “They know that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or [emphasis] her ability to lead our nation.
“Hillary has befriended the LGBT community for years, from co-sponsoring the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to helping pass the first ever UN resolution on LGBT human rights, to making sure transgender individuals’ passports could reflect their true gender.
“As both an African-American and a member of LGBT community, the choice for continued progress is clear.
“This November we must elect Hillary Clinton as our next President.”