Boston Celtics' fans were cheering on 34 year-old NBA vet Jason Collins just last season, and now the center is taking a big step in his life, and making sports history. 

Jason Collins, who has been in the league for 12 years, has told the world that he is gay. He says in the Sports Illustrated article, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." This announcement makes Collins the first openly gay male athlete in a major American professional sport.

So why did he decided to come out now? Collins says he was on a journey of self discovery during the NBA lockout in 2011. He said the lockout ruined his regular routine, and he really started to look at who he really was. He would go on to say that basketball always provided him with a distraction from himself, something that wasn't there in 2011.

Perhaps Collins brave steps will encourage other professional athletes who are hiding form their real selves to come out and not be afraid to be who they are, and being comfortable in their own skin.

[Sports Illustrated]