The former Washington Wizards star, who is currently a free agent, penned a brutally honest account in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, which began: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA centre. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
Collins has been widely praised for his courage, with former President Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea attended college with him, leading the tributes.
“It is the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities,” he said.
Collins wrote how he had been too scared by the possible reaction of others to be honest about his sexuality.
However, following the bombs which killed three and left 176 people injured at the Boston Marathon this month, he felt the time was right.
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect,” he wrote. “Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? No-one wants to live in fear.”