Last year, NBA player Jason Collins sent shockwaves through the sporting world by announcing that he’s gay and had hopes that a NBA team will overlook his sexuality and sign him to their team.
Nearly 10 months after his announcement, Collins is about to make history as the Brooklyn Nets just announced they’ve recently signed the player to their team.
Last week, the Nets traded rebounder Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton.
According to the Associated Press, ”We’re going to bring in a basketball player,” King said. ”It’s not about marketing or anything like that.” Whether marketing or public perception had anything to do with Brooklyn’s decision-making, it’s inevitable that adding Collins will draw an immense amount of media attention, both positive and negative.
Despite Collins signing would spark a media frenzy, the NETS players are excited to have Collins on their team, and according to point guard Deron Williams, “the team is equipped to handle this sort of attention.”
“I think it’s definitely going to be a media circus just because of the situation,” Williams said. “It’d be a historic day and so we definitely have to deal with that. But I think with the type of team that we have, veterans who have played with him before and know him, it shouldn’t be a problem.” […]
“It’s not him being a distraction,” Williams said. “It’s just the media coming along with it, because every city you go to, it’s not just like you answer a question once and then it’s over with. It’s a recurring thing. But like I said, I don’t think it would be a problem for us.”
Williams also told the New York Post:
“It’s 2014,” Williams said Friday when asked if the NBA was ready for an openly gay player. “Michael Sam just came out, and his teammates welcomed him, and they’re in college. It’s time for the NBA, as well.”
Three other established veteran voices on the Nets roster — All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson and future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, all of whom have played with Collins in the past — also spoke out in favor of a prospective Collins signing:
We would accept it greatly and it shouldn’t be a problem, man,” Joe Johnson said. “We’ve got a veteran group and I think everybody is pretty comfortable in their own skin. It’s about what he can do to help us out there on that court. That’s what it’s about.” […]
“I’m sure the distractions will be just that: distractions,” Kevin Garnett said. “But I don’t think there will be issues. We are all men here. We all understand. We are professionals. We know how to coincide with one another, which is very important when dealing with distractions.”
“No, I don’t think it would be too big of an issue with our team,” Pierce said. “We have enough veterans in the locker room and really phase that out and understand we have a job to do, and to try and win games.
“If he can help our team, I’m all for it.” “It’s about what he can do to help us out there on that court.” If you can play, you can play. Sing it.
Well four months ago, Collins’ twin, a long-time NBA champ Jarron Collins, revealed that he thinks his brother’s announcement left him with little hope [Jason] would find himself wearing an NBA uniform again. But on Sunday, that hope became firm, with Collins confirming the reports via Twitter: