Deaths Rumors

When Jason Collins stepped onto the court on Feb. 23, 2014, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, it was a historic event: He was the first openly gay player in the National Basketball Association, and this was his first time in uniform since he had come out. Among the thousands cheering him on in Los Angeles, in a game against the Lakers, were his uncle, Mark Collins, and Mark’s husband, Tony Murray. “Congratulations,” they said to Mr. Collins over drinks after the game. “We love you.”
They also paved the way for Jason to come out to his family by showing them that gay men were nothing to be afraid of. Some relatives had difficulty accepting that Mark Collins was gay — until they met Tony. “I think once we saw how Mark and Tony were, the love they had for each other, we knew Mark was going to be fine,” Mr. Collins, who played for six teams in a 13-year N.B.A. career, said in a phone interview. Mr. Murray died on March 16 at a hospital in Valley Stream, N.Y. He was 60. The cause was Covid-19, Mark Collins said.