Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in the North America by signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
Many thought it was a publicity stunt, but that was quickly put to rest. “The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision” Brooklyn general manager Billy King issued in a statement. “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.”
It was a significant moment in league history. TNT analyst Charles Barkley is on record saying he knows he’s played with “gay players” but for a player to come out and say he is and actually sign a contract and be accepted into a locker room is huge. Collins needs to be applauded for this. In a society where people are often shunned for being different, it takes courage for an active player to come out and make this announcement.
He is expected to be re-signed for the remainder of the season with Brook Lopez out the rest of the season with a broken right foot. Kevin Garnett is playing center and the Nets are playing with a three guard lineup so they need Collins to backup KG at center and give him a breather here and there.
Collins has lasted 13 seasons in the league due to his intelligence and good defensive play. Shaquille O’Neal has often said Collins was the toughest defender he ever faced and that’s a huge compliment since he squared off against Hakeem Olajuwon early in his career in the 1995 Finals.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @djroxalot