The Brooklyn Nets made history today after signing free agent center Jason Collins to a 10-day contract. Collins became the first active athlete in the four major American professional sports to announce he was gay this past summer after completing the season with the Washington Wizards.
Adrian Wojnarowski of the Yahoo Sports reports the big news:
Jason Collins has reached agreement on a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, clearing the way for the first openly gay athlete in major professional sports history, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Collins will be signed and available to play on Sunday when the Nets meet the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, sources told Yahoo.
Sources also told Woj, after Glen Davis elected to sign with the Clippers today â€” following his buyout with the Magic on Thursday â€” the Nets needed a backup plan because they traded Reggie Evans to Sacramento as part of the deal to acquire Marcus Thornton for Jason Terry and Evans. That left an opening for a frontcourt player in Brooklyn’s rotation.
Following Davis’ decision to sign with LA, Brooklyn elected to offer Collins a 10-day contract, making him the first openly gay professional athlete to don a uniform in one of the four major professional sports.
Collins will be in uniform tonight with the Nets face off against the Lakers at Staples Center, and you can guarantee the media’s presence will probably increase substantially once the news of Collins’ signing broke:
Most NBA teams have a policy that they don’t give out credentials with fewer than 24 hours notice. Lakers gonna break that a lot today.
— Kevin Draper (@kevinmdraper) February 23, 2014
Collins announced he was gay this past spring after a 2012-13 season where he played first for the Celtics before being dealt to Washington as part of the Jordan Crawford deal. But the veteran Collins had yet to be signed as a free agent before this weekend. Some felt it was related to his announced sexuality, while others postulated it was related to his skill level; he’s a tough defender and solid rebounder with little in the way of offense, and he’s getting old.
The 35-year-old Collins previously played portions of seven seasons with the Nets between 2001-08, including time with Nets coach Jason Kidd. As mentioned, Collins also played with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last season with the Celtics. Kidd has been outspoken in his desire to bring Collins to Brooklyn, and Pierce and Garnett have also been advocates for his signing.
Over his career, Collins has averaged 3.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 20.8 minutes per game.
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