HoopsHype Jason Collins rumors

February 24, 2014 Updates

“He is a regular person,” Pierce said. “You have people who make their choices. I think, along our society, we tend to think of each other and make rules and say what’s right and wrong, and that’s not fair, to say what’s right and wrong. As long as it’s not against the law or something where you’re violating other people’s rights, then so be it. “This is America. You have freedom of speech, you have the freedom to do a lot of things you want to do here. We welcome him with open arms, and I’m happy he’s the one that I know and has the courage to be able to come out and say it. The good thing about this team is that we’ve embraced him. I think the NBA has embraced him. I think the sports world has embraced him, and that’s going to be good moving forward.” New York Post

Rather than focus on his sexuality, players thought first about what Collins could do for the Brooklyn Nets after he signed a 10-day contract Sunday and became the league’s first openly gay player. “I just think about basketball,” Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant said. “Physical, physical center that plays his tail off for his team.” Washington Times

But that’s a need on a Nets team that already has scorers such as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce. Collins is the kind of guy who will throw his body around to create space for his teammates or helpstop his opponents, always valuable and appreciated traits. “Jason was one of the best teammates I ever had. When you talk about being a good teammate, it’s being prepared and doing your job every night, being able to be counted on. That’s a good teammate,” said Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn, who played with Collins on the Nets. Washington Times

"In light of (NFL draft prospect) Michael Sam coming out with his announcement, there's more attention brought to the situation," Shaw said. "But Jason Collins has been a pro for a long time. He's played with most of the guys that have been in the league for a long time. Him coming out when he came out ... I don't think was a surprise to a lot of people. "I always view a basketball team or league as a subset of society anyway. Somebody's sexual orientation shouldn't come into play. If they're trying to win, if they are not trying to force whatever their beliefs are on you, it shouldn't be a problem." Denver Post

Jefferson understands that history was made Sunday night in Los Angeles. And even though Collins may have friends in higher places now due to his historic announcement last spring, Jefferson still sees Collins as his silly brother who knows how to win and will do all the little things to again help the Nets win. "I think everyone knew there was going to be a gay athlete," Jefferson said. "Even with [Missouri football player] Michael Sam, it was just only a matter of time. Every sport has had one, every sport most likely has one currently playing. ... But it takes a lot of courage to come out [like Collins did]." Added Jefferson: "I don't care what it is that you do. I don't care who it is that you are with, I don't care how it is that you dress, I don't care what it is that you drink. I don't care what it is what you and your wife do in your bedroom. At the end of the day, you are going to have to win games. "And Jason Collins will help you win games. That is all that matters." ESPN.com

Kenneth Faried, the Denver Nuggets forward whose mother is a lesbian and who has become an activist for gay and lesbian rights, said in a statement released by the organization deemed Athlete Ally Response: "With Jason Collins signing with the Nets today, I believe our world as professional athletes will open up and become less ignorant of gay male athletes playing and more accepting and embracing of the whole situation." USA Today Sports

But Silver also said it’s disappointing it took this long for this moment to finally happen in the sports world. “I have mixed feelings, because I’m enormously proud that the first openly gay player is playing in the NBA,” Silver told The Post in a phone interview prior to Sunday’s game. “On the other hand, this is so long overdue that I don’t think this should necessarily be on the list of the greatest accomplishments of the NBA. “This is an area where no one in sports should be too proud. Sports has led society in so many critical areas … this is one where we fell behind.” New York Post

February 23, 2014 Updates

On Sunday, Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major American professional sports. After signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the day, he checked in for the first time against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second quarter. His announcement was met with loud applause from the crowd at Staples Center. Collins, a 35-year-old 12-year NBA veteran, came out of the closet last April in a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated and has received praise throughout the sports world and beyond. For The Win

Those closest to Collins say he'll make the most of this challenge, that he'll return to the physical, role-playing ways that helped keep him on an NBA team's payroll from the time he was drafted 18th overall out of Stanford in 2001 until the date of his last game, April 17, 2013, while with the Washington Wizards. Collins' first six seasons, coincidentally, came with the then-New Jersey Nets when he was teammates with current Nets coach Jason Kidd. USA Today Sports

If the doubt crept in, Lawrence said, Collins didn't show it. "If he did (question whether he'd play again), I don't think he let it on," Lawrence continued. "I think his attitude and just his outlook on it has been positive, and working to make sure that when the chance came that he was ready to go, and understanding that once we got past training camp and into the season, it was going to be like something like what happened today, where it kind of happened quickly and that he had to be ready to go. Certainly with the contract that he has now, he has 10 days to prove himself." USA Today Sports

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