Collins brothers speak in support of Clinton at DNC

Collins brothers speak in support of Clinton at DNC

Jason Collins '97 (left) and his twin Jarron Collins '97 (right) waving after speaking at the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton. Jason became the first openly gay professional basketball player in 2013 and praised Clinton for her support of LGBT issues in his speech.

Jason Collins ’97 and Jarron Collins ’97 spoke in support of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton on the first day of the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia.

Jason became the first openly gay professional basketball player in 2013 when he came out in a Sports Illustrated article. He said that he came out to the Clinton family before his public announcement, as he had become friends with the nominee’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton,while attending college at Stanford.

“I have known their family for almost 20 years,” Jason said. “I knew that they would accept me for who I was, and 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. They knew that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or her ability to lead our nation.”

Jason, who became an activist for the gay community after retiring from the NBA in 2014, spoke highly of Clinton’s record supporting LGBT rights.

Democratic support of the LGBT community will likely be important in the upcoming election, especially because Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence has supported anti-LGBT legislation in the past.

“The choice for continued progress is clear,” Jason said.

Jarron introduced his brother and spoke about the importance of the president as a role model to children, a sentiment that was echoed by First Lady Michelle Obama later that evening. He said Clinton exemplified respect towards women and people of different heritages.

Jarron retired from the NBA in 2011 and currently works as assistant coach to the Golden State Warriors.

In high school, the brothers lead the boys’ basketball team to consecutive CIF Division III State Championships in 1996 and 1997 before moving on to play in college and later professionally.

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