(CNN) - It's the biggest move of his career and it's off the court.
Jason Collins, who played with the NBA's Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards this season, has disclosed that he is gay, making him the first active openly gay male athlete in the four major American pro team sports.
The center, who said he is now a free agent, made the disclosure in a column appearing in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated.
"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand," he wrote.
Collins also wrote that the killing of three people at the Boston Marathon persuaded him to make an announcement. Things can change in a moment, so why not starting living more truthfully, he wrote.
This morning on "Early Start," ESPN's "Mike and Mike" co-hosts Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic weigh in on NBA player Jason Collins announcing he is gay.
READ MORE: NBA's Jason Collins comes out as gay
CNN's Christine Romans on if NBA player Jason Collins will enjoy increased marketability after announcing he is gay.
Trending on the web this morning: One man's final wish to have a fast food funeral is granted, and President Obama welcomes Lebron James & the Miami Heat to the White House.
Sports fans all over the world witnessed an exciting year in 2012. Usain Bolt made Olympic history in London, Johnny Manziel became the youngest college football player to ever win the Heisman trophy, and Lebron James finally won a championship ring. Maggie Gray is an anchor for SI.com, and she comes to the studio to count down Sports Illustrated's top five moments in sports for this year. Take a guess at what made number 1.