HoopsHype Jason Collins rumors

February 25, 2014 Updates

Mark Cuban vehemently let the world know Monday night how he feels about Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay player to participate in one of the four major professional sports in the United States. “I don’t [care] about a guy’s sexuality,” the Dallas Mavericks’ owner said. “Period. End of story.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Guard Devin Harris said that Collins’ contributions on the basketball court should be the focus over what he does off the court. “He’s still solid in what he does — hard fouls, rebounding, things that he’s been doing his whole career,” Harris said. “It just happens to be that he’s gay. “But I think he’s still a great person and obviously a good basketball player.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Two years after Linsanity, the month that took him to dizzying heights never before reached by an Asian American player in the NBA, Jeremy Lin offered his perspective on Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the four major American professional team sports. "I think it's definitely a big step," Lin said after the Houston Rockets' morning shootaround before their game at the Phoenix Suns. "The game is evolving. You see a lot of different people breaking barriers in a lot of different ways. This is just another one of those." ESPN.com

February 24, 2014 Updates

Q: When did you first start having the discussions about signing Jason Collins? Billy King: "When we were putting the team together at the beginning of the season, and we needed bigs, Jason (Kidd) brought his name up, and then when we signed other guys there was not a need. Then as we were going throughout the season, Jason talked about our interior defense. When Kevin (Garnett) is out there he’s our anchor, and when he’s out, we have Mason Plumlee, who’s a rookie and he gets a lot of quick fouls, and then some of our other guys are not as good interior defenders. So, we’ve been looking for someone, and Jason (Collins)’s name had always surfaced there. We tried to do it via the trade at the deadline and couldn’t get that done. Knowing on this trip that we have a back-to-back with LA, and KG most likely may not play, the goal was that we may need to bring someone in, and with Jason being in LA, we had worked him out during the All-Star break, it was the right time and the right fit for us." NetsDaily

"But, from our standpoint, we made a basketball decision. Obviously people will say it was marketing, but we needed a basketball player. If and when we decided to sign him, in that game last night Mason (Plumlee) picked up two fouls, (Andray) Blatche picked up two fouls, and we weren’t able to stop (Pau) Gasol inside. And Jason (Collins) was able to come in and do that. So, that was the decision, we needed some interior defense. We were hoping, we tried to get Glen "Big Baby" Davis when he became a free agent, but he chose to go to the Clippers, and once he did we went with Jason." NetsDaily

Nets general manager Billy King called it “a basketball decision,” as if to disregard any other significance. Commissioner Adam Silver politely disputed that narrow assessment. “While it shouldn’t be a big deal—and I understand Billy King saying, in essence, it’s just a basketball decision—it is a big deal,” Silver told Bleacher Report in a telephone interview. Bleacher Report

The moment drew a back-page “Come Out and Play” headline in the News, with the New York Post shruggingly using “Nets welcome back Collins.” Andrew Keh of the New York Times notes that “Collins is re-entering an American sports landscape that has changed for gay athletes since he last played” — only 10 months ago. Soccer player Robbie Rogers came out publicly last February and played in 11 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy. On Feb. 9, Missouri’s Michael Sam announced that he is gay, raising the possibility that the NFL will have an openly gay player drafted in May. “We’ve all played with gay guys, and guess what?” Barkley said. “Anybody who ever played with Jason Collins has already played with a gay teammate, too. C’mon. Anybody in the workforce in this country has worked alongside gay people, and don’t feel as if they’re making history by doing that.” Washington Post

Jason, have you thought at all or worried at all about how you might be embraced by players or fans or anything like that? Collins: No, my teammates have been great. Everybody this morning. Like I said, I've played with a lot of these guys or my brother. Throughout the league, my brother played 10 years in the NBA so we have 22 years experience between the two of so it's a lot of teammates, a lot of coaches, a lot of people we've cooled spots with. NetsDaily

Collins said he had little time to process it all. He awoke Sunday morning to text messages from his agent and Nets Coach Jason Kidd alerting him to the move, and hours later he was signing his contract. A few hours after that, he was taking his physical and preparing to play his first game since April 17. “Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, the game plan assignment,” Collins, sitting at a lectern, said less than an hour before the game Sunday night. “I don’t have time to really think about history right now.” New York Times

Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in one of America's four major sports when he debuted for the Nets against the Lakers on Sunday night. The Nets signed Collins, who announced he was gay on April 29, to a 10-day contract on Sunday. Bryant has been a strong supporter of Collins since his announcement. "His impact [Sunday night] is greater than what people think," Bryant told Yahoo Sports before the game. "You look at it from the context of having the first openly gay player. But they missed the domino effect that it has way beyond sports." Yahoo! Sports

"It's fantastic. It sets an incredible precedent," said Bryant, who is currently out of the Lakers' lineup indefinitely with a knee injury. "I think the most important part about it, what I've learned on the issue is that one person coming out is showing this type of courage that gives others that same type of courage. "It's dealing with a lot of issues for kids who are afraid to be themselves. Afraid to be themselves because of the peer pressure that comes with it. A lot of these kids have depression issues or they're being teased from other kids for being different. You wind up seeing a lot of suicides, kids injuring themselves and getting hooked on things that they should not be hooked on." Yahoo! Sports

“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

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