During the second quarter of an away game against the Los Angeles Lakers, center Jason Collins took the floor in a Brooklyn Nets uniform Sunday and made history as the first openly gay player to see action in an NBA game.
Collins, who came out last year in an article published in Sports Illustrated, recently signed a 10-day contract with the Nets. According to Sports Illustrated, Nets coach Jason Kidd made the decision to sign Collins, then asked the team to recall the biopic 42 about Jackie Robinson’s racial integration of baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A Nets source told SI, “There were a lot of guys nodding their heads. They wanted to do this.”
When Collins entered the game on Sunday night, the AP reported that he got a “nice ovation” from the Lakers crowd. The center grabbed two rebounds and collected five fouls in his 714th NBA game, helping the Nets defeat the Lakers 108-102. “I don’t care about scoring,” Collins said after the game. “I care about helping my teammates get open and making their job[s] easier.”
After 10 days with the Nets, Collins can be signed to another 10-day contract, after which he must be released or sign with the team for the remainder of the season.