Openly gay former NBA player Jason Collins will be among the guests sitting in Michelle Obama’s box at Tuesday’s State of the Union, the White House announced on Monday. Since he came out last year, Collins has been no stranger to the first family.
In April, after Collins’s Sports Illustrated piece announcing he was gay, President Obama called Collins to congratulate him for “his courage.” In a press conference the next day, after leaving the podium and saying he would take no more questions, the president returned to the mic to once again offer words of praise for the former NBA player. A month later, Collins headlined a Democratic National Committee fundraiser with the first lady.
Collins will be joined by survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing; the fire chief from Moore, Okla., which was ravaged by a tornado last year; the teenage inventor who created an “extreme marshmallow cannon”; and the 2013 District of Columbia Public School’s Teacher of the Year. The White House said other guests for the address will be announced later.