US: President Obama appoints openly gay NBA star to fitness council

US President Barack Obama at the weekend appointed the first openly gay NBA player to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

Collins, who came out as gay last April, signed a 10-day deal late last month with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first active, openly-gay player in one of the four major league professional sports in the US. He has since signed with the team for the remainder of the season.

A statement from the White House noted Collins’ achievements and said Obama intended to appoint him to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

President Obama said: “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

The statement from the White House is availabe to read below.

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Jason Collins is a professional basketball player with the Brooklyn Nets, where he has played since 2014. Previously, he played for the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Jersey Nets. He joined the National Basketball Association in 2001 after playing for Stanford University, where he was a National Association of Basketball Coaches third team All-American and a member of the All-PAC-10 first team. Mr. Collins is a partner with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Mr. Collins received a B.A. from Stanford University.

Last week it was announced that Collins was featured as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, a year after coming out.

Following his decision to wear the number 98 shirt for his new team in commemoration of murdered gay teenager Matthew Shepard, the item soared to the top of online sales on the NBA’s online store earlier this month.