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First Openly Gay Athlete in the NBA Signs With The Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets Coach, Jason Kidd and Jason Collins at contract signing.

Brooklyn Nets Coach, Jason Kidd and Jason Collins at contract signing.

Veteran NBA Center Jason Collins has officially become the first active openly gay athlete in the NBA.

Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, the team announced on Sunday.

This signing makes Collins  the first active openly gay player in American professional sports leagues—including the N.F.L, MLB and the N.H.L.

“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” the Nets’ 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.”

The team added that Collins will be available for Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

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

Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization that works closely with the NBA on LGBT inclusion, issued a statement shortly after Collins signed his contract.

“We are entering a new era of inclusion with Jason Collins, the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA at the forefront,” Athlete Ally’s Executive Director Hudson Taylor said. “Jason may be the first, but he’s not the last. It’s because of him and the unprecedented leadership of professional leagues like the NBA that we’ll see more and more LGBT athletes at all levels of competition.”

The 35-year-old, who came out last April in Sports Illustrated, has not played since last year after finishing the regular season with the Washington Wizards.

Collins has been a part of six different teams over a 12-year professional career, but spent the majority of his time with the Nets when they played in New Jersey.

 

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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