Jason Collins: First Openly Gay NBA Athlete
[TheYBF] Over the weekend, Jason Collins made his debut with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay athlete in one of the four major league sports. More inside….
Jason Collins, the NBA player who first made national headline when he “came out” in an open letter published by Sports Illustrated last year, made sports history Sunday night when he hit the court for the Brooklyn Nets.
On Sunday afternoon, Jason signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and later played against the LA Lakers (finishing with zero points and two rebounds in 12 minutes of action), making him the first openly gay athlete to participate in major league sports (NBA, NFL, MBA, NHL).
The signing reunited Jason with former teammate turned Nets head coach Jason Kidd (shown atop) whom he played with him in New Jersey from 2001-08. Since the landmark announcement, support for Jason has been wide and mainly positive.
Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision. We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”
Brian Ellner, a member of the Athlete Ally board of directors (a non-profit organization that works with the NBA on LGBT inclusion) said in a statement,
“Today, Jason Collins tore open the last remaining closet in America, and became the first openly gay player to be signed by a team in one of the big four sports. We are especially excited that Jason will be playing in Brooklyn, just like Jackie Robinson, and in a marriage equality state. This is a piece of history, an important point on the continuum toward justice and a moment to celebrate.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement,
“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team. Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”
Openly gay college football player Michael Sam tweeted,
Sports parody account “Not Bill Walton” made a little-light hearted humor at Jason’s appearance:
Could the Nets deal kick off Jason Collins’ second-act in the NBA? Or is this simply a PR move on both sides?
We’ll be watching….
Watch Jason’s press conference below: