What's significant about NBA player Jason Collins coming out

In a Sports Illustrated article, Jason Collins, a 34 year-old NBA veteran came out and became the first openly gay player in major American sport (which includes the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL).  At a time when LGBT Americans have enjoyed acceptance, and as our highest Court debates marriage equality, one might wonder what's the big deal with Jason Collins.  The big deal is the venue in which Collins works.  He is the first openly gay pro-athlete in a major sport.  He is also male in a sport that is dominated by macho men. Bill Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun put it this way:

Sure, anyone with common sense knows Collins isn't the only gay man playing in the NBA or the NFL or Major League Baseball — or any other team sport, for that matter.

But he was the first one who took a deep breath and came out while he still had a career to protect. (He's a free agent who last played for the Washington Wizards this season and wants to keep playing.)

That's why this is so momentous.

Collins states though in his first person narrative in Sports Illustrated that he was not trying to be a trailblazer or even an activist, but the Boston Marathon bombings gave him a new perspective about just wanting to live his life as who he is.  He said, "The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?"

Reactions to Collins' announcement around the NBA, sports world, and world has been largely positive