Jason Collins Signs With Brooklyn; Becomes NBA’s First Openly Gay Player

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  • BROOKLYN, N.Y. (AP) – Jason Collins became the NBA’s first active openly gay player Sunday. His only focus was how he played basketball.

    “I don’t have time to really think about history right now,” he said.

    Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets earlier Sunday and coach Jason Kidd said he would play in their game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The 35-year-old center revealed at the end of last season he is gay, but he was a free agent and had remained unsigned.

    Speaking at a crowded press conference, Collins said he was aware of the magnitude of his signing, but repeatedly said he was most concerned with learning the Nets’ plays.

    “The pressure is playing in an NBA game tonight and last time I played in an NBA game was last April,” Collins said. “So I think that’s enough pressure right there.”

    With a need for another big man, the Nets turned to the 7-foot Collins, who helped them reach two NBA Finals in the early 2000s.

    “The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” general manager Billy King said 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.”

    Collins has played 12 NBA seasons, including his first seven with the Nets, when they were in New Jersey and Kidd was their point guard. Kidd is now the Nets’ coach and Collins has been a teammate of several other current Nets.

    “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,” Commissioner Adam Silver said.

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