JasoncollinsSkies were gray but there was plenty of sunshine in the smiles of thousands who attended the 43rd annual Boston Pride Parade. This year was extra special for the city of Boston, a city that has shown great strength during and after the Boston Marathon bombing and as reported by CNNSI June8, the parade featured a special guest has Jason Collins marched alongside his college roommate, Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy.

Collins, who was the first active openly gay male athlete in the four major American sports leagues, showed his pride wearing a Nike shirt that read “#BETRUE” as a symbol of his decision to be true to himself. Because of his courage, Collins has inspired many athletes, kids and many others who were once afraid to be who they are.

Boston’s parade drew over 230 groups which made it the second-largest event besides the parade in New York City. Collins participation only added to the aroma of pride that filled the air. The 34-year-old NBA free agent and former Boston Celtic was inspired by the 2012 Gay Pride Parade in Boston. In his Sports Illustrated essay he wrote:

“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy.”

A year later, Collins marched beside Kennedy marching for the “tolerance, acceptance and understanding” that he only dreamed of just a year ago.

Fittingly this year’s Boston Pride theme was “Moving Forward…Proud, Strong, United.” A city that came together as one during a moment of tragedy, today showed its pride in moving forward as a united vision of diversity.

And for Jason Collins it was a moment of freedom and a day when his self-discovery was celebrated within the truth of his heart.