Jason Collins set the sports world on fire when, after 12 years in the NBA and still going at 34 years old, he announced that he is gay. The choice to come out made him the first player to do so while still an active member of one of America’s four major sports teams.
Obviously, his Sports Illustrated cover and article have drawn both supporters (Bill and Chelsea Clinton, for example), as well as criticism from those who see Collins’ life as a sin (ESPN’s Chris Broussard).
Basically, everyone who has ever played a professional sport has been given the opportunity to weigh in on this topic if they would have liked to. On the “Bucher & Towney” show with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend on 95.7 FM in the Bay Area on Thursday, former Utah Jazz superstar and one of the greatest to ever play the game, Karl Malone, decided to throw his hat into the ring.
What side of the argument does he fall on?
“Let’s just cut through the skinny … I’m proud of the young man,” Malone said on the “Bucher & Towney” show. “Isn’t it about time that we stopped wasting so much time on what a person prefers?”
Collins himself has stated that the overall support he has received has been “overwhelming.” However, at the same time that most of Collins’ peers have been praising him for his bravery in breaking down this barrier, there have been underlying questions regarding a certain place in the locker room: The shower.
Malone put those fears, at least as it pertains to himself, to rest as well.
“I played with a teammate, John Amaechi, who was gay. He didn’t just wake up and say, ‘I’m gay today.’ He was gay then,” Malone said. “Did I ever once feel uncomfortable? Do I feel uncomfortable right now with a gay person in the room? No. I might even joke with them about it … I would undress in front of them now. I’m not afraid.”
Amaechi first made waves back in 2007, when he announced that he was gay. He was already retired at the time. Collins obviously took it one step further, making the announcement while still a player in the league (currently, he is a free agent, but he is expected to be signed to a team once the playoffs are wrapped up).
As far as Malone is concerned, however, it’s all about basketball.