Jason Collins Makes History as First Openly Gay NBA Player
Jason Collins stepped onto the hardwood last night for the first time since coming out as basketball’s first openly gay player. The Brooklyn Nets took a flier by signing Collins to a 10-day contract yesterday.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 23, 2014
“”It was a lot of fun to get back out on the court and set screens and hard fouls…I didn’t take any charges tonight, that’ll change. I’ll get in position next time. But it felt good to get back out there on the court,” Collins said.
The seven-footer has never been a prolific scorer, averaging a little under four points per game in his career, and Collins knew his role, taking only one shot from the field last night. Collins played 11 minutes, recording two rebounds and a steal against the Lakers. Nets guard Deron Williams praised Collins’ impact on the game.
“It’s definitely a big moment. I’m happy for him. I know he’s been sitting around waiting for a job, so I’m happy to see him on a team and happy that he’s on our team,” Williams told ESPN.
“He was huge for us tonight. He made some big plays on defense, I thought he played great defense on Pau [Gasol]. He’s a heck of a screener. I played with his brother and they play similar. He’s a heck of a screener and he gets you open. He was instrumental in this win tonight.”
Brooklyn plays 14 of their remaining 28 games back-to-back, so Collins was likely brought in to help rest the Nets’ starters for the playoffs. Collins said he did his best to be ready for another chance.
“I always stayed positive. That’s one of the things I pride myself on is being a professional, and part of being a professional is always being ready, always training. There were times this past winter when I’m running my five-mile trail run and it’s just me and the trail, running and working hard, so that if get an opportunity, at least I can say I’m in great condition,” Collins said.
Even if the Nets choose not to sign him for the remainder of the season nine days from now, playoff teams like the Clippers and Wizards could use a seven-footer like Collins to give fouls going forward.
Check out the video below of Collins walking onto the court:
I’m a spring intern at RVA Mag and GayRVA. I recently got my degree in journalism from Virginia Tech, where I also wrote for the Collegiate Times newspaper. I spent the first half of my life as an impatient New Yorker, but I grew up here in Richmond, buying skateboards from Dominion, seeing shows at Alley Katz, and watching VCU Rams basketball games. I like everything bagels, wasting my money on clothes I don’t need, moombahton music, and cycling. I probably fell down putting on my pants this morning.
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