ESPN is reporting that the Brooklyn Nets will take an historic step later Sunday and sign the first openly gay professional athlete in US team sports. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA reports the Nets will sign Jason Collins to a 10-day contract later Sunday afternoon.
Jason Collins has a meeting with the Nets in a few hours and is expected to sign, source tells ESPN.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 23, 2014
Shelburne says the decision was about basketball.
Jason Collins wanted 1 thing, for this to be a basketball decision. It is. Nets traded Evans & missed on Davis, have a need for his skills— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 23, 2014
Her colleague Marc Stein adds that Collins is expected to suit up tonight at Staples Center in his hometown of Los Angeles.
Shelburne suggests that much of the credit for the signing goes to those Nets who played with Collins.
You have to give a lot of credit to Nets coach Jason Kidd and team leaders Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, all of whom played with Collins— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 23, 2014
Jarron Collins, Jason's twin brother, also hinted at the move.
Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday. Today should be a pretty cool day!— jarron collins (@jarronctwin) February 23, 2014
And Jaron's wife all but confirmed the family news
Meanwhile, Chris Mannix reports Collins worked out with Eric Hughes, Nets assistant who is long time confidante of Kidd's and coached him at Cal.
Jason Collins worked out with Nets assistant coach Eric Hughes over the All-Star break in LA. Nets were impressed with JC's conditioning— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) February 23, 2014
Earlier today, the Nets top choice for their 14th man, Glen Davis indicated he would sign with the Clippers, setting up the big move.
There is "an understanding" between Jason Collins and BKN, per source. If it happens he will be first openly gay active player in the NBA.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 23, 2014
Nets been given impression Glen Davis will sign w/ Clippers once he clears waivers at 5 p.m. Eastern, I'm told. They're plotting Plan B now.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2014
NBA free agent forward Glen Davis is "leaning" toward signing with the Clippers, a source told Yahoo. Davis clears waivers at 5 PM EST today— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 23, 2014
Overnight, Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk reported that if Davis signed with the Clippers, the Nets would move quickly to sign Jason Collins.
Collins has not played since last April when his contract with the Wizards ran out. There have been questions as to whether Collins hasn't been able to find work in the NBA because he is gay or because he is a player with declining skills. Shelburne noted that Collins probably would have gotten a training camp invitation if he had not come out in a Sports Illustrated interview.
Two high profile gay athletes, Robbie Rogers of the LA Galaxy, Michael Sam, the Michigan lineman who came out two weeks ago offered their congratulations.
Very excited to watch @jasoncollins34 tonight more importantly I am proud to call him my friend.— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) February 23, 2014
The nation's biggest NBA fan, President Obama, has befriended Collins in recent months. In just the last few weeks, Collins was invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Nation and attend the White House state dinner for French President Francois Hollande.
- Jason Collins to sign with Brooklyn Nets - Ohm Youngmisuk, Ramona Shelburne & Marc Stein - ESPN
- Jason Collins is ready to play - Kevin Arnowitz - ESPN
- Nets to sign Jason Collins, NBA’s first openly gay player - Adrian Wojnarowski & Marc J. Spears - Yahoo! Sports
- Jason Collins close to deal with Brooklyn Nets - Sam Amick - USA Today