Jason Collins Signs With Nets, Become NBA's First Openly Gay Player (Updated)

Jason Collins Signs With Nets, Become NBA's First Openly Gay Player (Updated)

Collins has been out of the league since last year when he revealed his sexuality

The Brooklyn Nets on Sunday signed Jason Collins to a 10-day contract, making him the first openly gay player in NBA history.

“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” 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 Nets moved quickly to make the historic signing of the 35-year-old free agent center, who will be in uniform for tonight's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. He's rejoining the franchise with which he spent his first six-plus seasons in the league.

Also read: Stephen Colbert on Gay Football Player Michael Sam: ‘It's 1st & 10, Not 1st and Steve’ (Video)

Collins hasn't played in an NBA game since April 2013 with the Washington Wizards. He's been working out on his own for months in the L.A. area after failing to earn an invite to training camp from any of the league's 30 teams after he revealed his sexuality last year.

The subject of gay athletes in pro sports has been drawning extra attention since Missouri University's Michael Sam earlier this month came out and said he would make himself eligible for the National Football League's player draft. If chosen, he'll be the sport's first openly gay player.

Sam sent his support for Collins on Sunday via Twitter:

Athlete Ally, a non-profit group that works closely with the NBA and other pro sports leagues on LGBT inclusion, applauded the Nets’ decision in a statement issued Sunday.

Also read: Howard Kurtz Apologizes for ‘Sloppy’ Jason Collins Mistake (Video)

“Today, Jason Collins tore open the last remaining closet in America, and became the first openly gay player to be signed by a team in one of the big four sports. We are especially excited that Jason will be playing in Brooklyn, just like Jackie Robinson, and in a marriage equality state. This is a piece of history, an important point on the continuum toward justice and a moment to celebrate,” said Brian Ellner, a member of the Athlete Ally board of directors.

Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. pro sports league in May 2013, just three months after coming out. And John Amaechi, spent five seasons in the NBA with Orlando, Utah and Cleveland, disclosed his sexuality three years after his playing career ended in a 2007 book entitled “Man In The Middle.”

  • makikijoe

    So happy for you Jason.
    Do us proud. I will say a prayer for you.
    Just stay strong and do your best. That's all we expect.

    • buldog

      Why are people making a big deal about gay people is something most people do not. Who actally care whether a person is gay or not. People are getting sick and tired of this person and that person comes out as gay. Come on people stop making big issue about gay/lesbian or whatever.

      • makikijoe

        In a few years it won't be such a big deal.
        For example, when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson in the 1950's. it was a BIG deal.
        These days, the signing of a black guy to a professional sports team is no longer a big deal.
        Have some patience, bulldog.
        This too will pass.

      • Zack Lewis

        Hey Dog. It's people like yourself we as a society want to purge. You need to grow up and realize we are a nation of diverse people included you. You should come out of your closet and try to understand we are all people of the USA.

  • Jerome Dupree

    Since Collins is a crappy player, his signing can only be viewed as freakshow value.