Before NBA player Jason Collins went public as the first openly gay active professional basketball player, he sought advice from another high profile out star.
The 34-year-old free agent, who played with the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics this past season, spoke to former *NSYNC member Lance Bass.
“He’s been trying to plan this for a very long time. He’s been contemplating if he wanted to do this. In fact, he said he was going to call me months ago but was too scared, because he wanted to tell me,” Lance said on Monday on his SiriusXM radio show, “Dirty Pop With Lance Bass.”
Lance — who knows Jason through mutual actress friend Joanna Garcia — shared his own coming out experience (he went public in 2006) with Jason as the NBA player contemplated how to handle the historic moment.
“I told him, ‘Look, this is what I wish would have happened when I came out because when I came out I had 24 hours to decide what was going to happen, because basically the magazine said, ‘We’re doing it with or without you,’” he said.
Actor and LGBT advocate Wilson Cruz is also supporting Jason.
“Wilson Cruz is helping out,” Lance continued. “[Jason is] going to sit down with GLAAD today and really get some good information before he does these sit-downs, just so he doesn’t put his foot in his mouth… because this will live for the rest of his life.”
According to Lance, Jason did not previously have that many connections to the LGBT community.
“Jason said today, ‘I don’t really know that many gay people because all my life has been sports,’” the singer said on his radio show.
Lance explained that the NBA lockout in 2011 gave Jason the time to decide to come forward.
“He finally got to sit back and think about himself and relationships and love and all that type of stuff because he had the time and that’s when he started becoming more comfortable with it because he was finding out about himself,” he explained.
The “Dirty Pop” host revealed that the NBA player’s coming out came with a good deal of fanfare from stars and politicians.
Jason told Lance, “just got off the phone with two Presidents and Oprah.”