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In 2013, NBA star Jason Collins made the slam dunk decision to publicly come out as gay and, in doing so, became the first ever out male athlete currently playing with one of the four major sports leagues (MBL, NFL, NHA and NBA). We love Collins for his athletic prowess, his courage and for the fact that he’s now retired, which means he has plenty of time for leisure pursuits—like travel. Here, Collins answers our favorite travel-inspired questions.

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Jason Collins

Do you have a travel bucket list and if so, what’s the next destination on it?
Through basketball, I have been able to travel the world. I have been to all parts of Europe; I have been to Istanbul; I have been to China; I have been to Africa and I have been to South America. The one place that I really want to go to next—that is on my bucket list—is like a two-for-one because I have never been and I am a huge fan of tennis: I want to go to the Australian Open. That is something that I really look forward to doing, hopefully within the next five years. I am really looking forward to going to Melbourne and checking out some great tennis at the Australian Open, and then while I am down there I might as well go to Sydney and New Zealand if there is time.

New York and Los Angeles are rival cities. What is one thing each city does better than the other?
I am a native of Los Angeles, so my answer to this question will be a little biased. What LA does better is just the vibe of LA. Within a two-hour drive you can to go the mountains to go skiing, you can go to our beaches and go in the ocean, you have Hollywood nightlife and you have a much-relaxed vibe and I feel that the people—with the good weather—are a little bit happier. I have lived in New York, because obviously, I have played for the Brooklyn Nets and the New Jersey Nets. The one thing that I can say that New York does better is the public transportation system. You do not need a car to live in New York and I love taking the subway. In fact, I keep on my phone my MTA subway card; it is always with me just in case I am ever in New York and need to take the subway very quickly.

Window, Middle or Aisle Seat on an airplane and why.
Being that I am 7 feet tall, I definitely need the aisle, plus I am also a bit claustrophobic, so I feel better when I am on the aisle. No one wants to see a 7-footer freak out on the airplane, so I always ask politely if I can get the aisle seat.

Who are three famous people you would take a vacation with and where would you go?
President Obama because he is amazing and we would probably be able to get through security a lot quicker because we will have a former president with us. I would [also] take Serena Williams; again I love tennis and she is…one of the greatest athletes ever, period. I follow her on social media and she loves tacos and I love tacos and I feel like we would really get along. The last person, and yes, he is a celebrity in a way, but also my brother Jarron Collins who is an Assistant Coach with the Golden State Warriors and people love the Golden State Warriors. We would go to Australia just because it is Australia.

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Name a destination that you thought would be awful, but you loved it.
I wouldn’t say it was awful, but I would say I didn’t know what to expect and that was going to Africa, going to Angola. You hear stories about the discrepancy between the haves and the have nots in Africa, the lack of infrastructure. So, I didn’t know what to expect going to Angola and it was just an incredible trip. Just the soul of the people and of the country, and it was so welcoming and amazing to see.

Group or solo travel and why?
Well, I like going with loved ones, so if it’s my boyfriend, I guess the longest trip we have done together is to China. We went to Beijing, we went to Shanghai and we went to Sichuan. That was just really special because for so long in my life, I didn’t know if I would have that special someone, that connection that a lot of people take for granted when you have a significant other. It was really special to walk the Great Wall of China with him or to see the soldiers or the lights in the restaurants of Shanghai, just having that experience with him.

You encounter a dangerous bear while hiking in the woods; who wins that fight and why?
Well, being that I am 7 foot and a gentle 300 pounds I would think that the bear would probably look at me and say, “You know this will probably be a draw so let’s just not even go there.” I would like to say that I would be able to bluff my way out of that encounter.


Tagged: Celebrity picks, Feature

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

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