Brooklyn Nets officially sign center Jason Collins

Jason Collins came out as gay in the latest Sports Illustrated. Credit" Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images.
Jason Collins came out as gay in “Sports Illustrated” last year.
Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images.

The Nets will be making history, it just has nothing to do with anything on the court.

According to ESPN, center Jason Collins will be signing with the Nets on Sunday. The move will make Collins the first openly gay player in the history of the league. And also the first openly gay player in any of the four major American sports. The Nets confirmed the deal Sunday afternoon.

He signed a 10-day contract and will be available to play Sunday against the Lakers.

The Nets had also expressed interest in signing Magic power forward Glen Davis, who was placed on waivers following the trade deadline on Thursday. It appears as though Davis has instead chosen to sign with the Clippers.

It was just a few weeks ago former Missouri football player Michael Sam announced he was gay before being drafted by the NFL. The former SEC Defensive Player of the Year will likely become the first gay player in NFL history.

Collins, 35, announced he was gay prior last offseason, but had not signed with any team. The lack of a signing was likely nothing to do with his announcement, but instead simply because of his advanced age and diminishing skill set.

“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team,” said commissioner Adam Silver. “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.”

Collins had a workout with the Nets last week and the players and head coach Jason Kidd were all welcome to signing the veteran and former New Jersey Nets player.

“I think it’s important that anybody who has the capabilities and skill level [gets] a chance to [do] something he’s great at,” Kevin Garnett told reporters about Collins at practice last week. “I think it would be bias, and in a sense, racist, if you [were] to keep that opportunity from a person.”

Kidd and Collins were teammates with the Nets from 2001-07, during which time the team made two NBA Finals appearances. Collins was always a defensive stopper more than an offensive force. He’s averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for his career.

He played with the Celtics and Wizards last season, averaging just under 10 minutes per game. He will likely play a similar deep reserve role with the Nets this season, who lost center Brook Lopez to a season-ending foot injury in December.

The Nets posted a photo of him signing his contract alongside Kidd on Sunday.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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