In a thought-provoking Sports Illustrated article, Jason Collins — who played for the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics this NBA season — just became the first openly gay male athlete in one of America’s most popular professional sports. It’s an amazing scoop for SI, and one that came together quickly.
Chris Stone, SI’s managing editor, explained that they didn’t know Collins’ identity or if he was going to go through with telling his tale, until only six days ago. Franz Lidz, the writer who co-authored the piece with Collins, was the only person who knew the details, until the SI team sat down with Collins on the 24th:
The player’s identity remained unknown to Lidz until the agreed-upon date. He, and we, knew there was a very real, understandable possibility that the player could change his mind. Lidz and SI executive editor Jon Wertheim arrived in L.A. on the night of April 23. At noon the next day, they were directed to meet with Collins at his home. For four hours Collins shared his story with remarkable clarity, directness, emotion and humor (keyword: Shaq). There was a deeply moving note of graciousness too.
If you haven’t read the Collins/Lidz piece yet, you should. Just don’t bother with the comments. Trust us.
[Image: Kwaku Alston/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images]