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Boston Gay Pride asks NBA center Jason Collins to lead march

Well, that was quick ... TMZ has learned Jason Collins has officially been asked to lead Boston's pride parade this summer, hours after the NBA star announced that he's gay.

A rep for parade tells TMZ, “Boston Pride is formally inviting Jason Collins to be a Marshal in the 2013 Boston Pride Parade ... Boston Pride is proud that our annual celebration helped to inspire Jason Collins to make his groundbreaking decision to come out."

You'll recall ... Collins told Sports Illustrated that the Boston Pride Parade was one of the main reasons he came out, claiming he always wanted to participate ... but couldn't because he was scared of public scrutiny.

Collins said he planned to march this year on June 8th -- but now he could be getting the VIP treatment instead ... which may or may not involve a bunch of half-naked men dancing in briefs.

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To read the full story about Jason Collins coming out and the public reaction from political figures and athletes, click HERE.