Jason Collins Retirement
Jason Collins, #46 of the Brooklyn Nets, looks on prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 23, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Collins played 22 games with the Brooklyn Nets last season and was not on the roster this season.

He announced his retirement in a first-person story for Sports Illustrated, saying it has been “been 18 exhilarating months” since he came out as the first openly gay man in one of the four major North American professional leagues.

He started his career with the New Jersey Nets in 2001 and rejoined the franchise in Brooklyn in February. He had a number of former teammates on the Brooklyn team, including former coach Jason Kidd.

Collins thanked Kidd for his support, “considering all the speculation about problems I might face within the locker room.” Collins says he’s “happy to have helped put those canards to rest.”

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