The Brooklyn Nets signed Jason Collins earlier this afternoon to a 10-day contract and already had him suited up to play against the Los Angeles Lakers. And just one hour prior to tip-off, Collins met with the Los Angeles and New York media in attendance.
Here are some of the highlights from the press conference, in which Jason Collins stressed that this is all about basketball, and his focus was on doing what he can to help the Nets win basketball games.
How he found out about being signed: "I first found out this morning, woke up around 8:15, had a coupled missed calls from my agent and a couple text messages from Jason Kidd."
On history: "Right now I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, learn the coverages… I don’t have time to think about history."
On his comfort level: "I’m very thankful for this opportunity…I played for 12 years in this league, I know how to play basketball. I just need to get my timing back, but I’m ready. Let’s do it."
On getting the opportunity from his former teammate, Jason Kidd: "I played with J-Kidd, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, my brother played with Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams; I’m very familiar with the guys on this team. I thank Kidd and the Nets organization for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank the fans and my family."
What does he bring?: "First of all, my experience. A solid veteran. Hopefully my mind will be in the right place, see if my body will be in the right place... I’m a defensive player first, and that’s what I pride myself on. Now it’s just me getting comfortable and working on my assignments."
On being a "crusader": "I just need to be a solid basketball player. it’s about focusing on basketball, not about history."
On the pressure he's feeling right now: "The pressure is playing in an NBA game tonight. Last time I played in an NBA game was last April. That’s the pressure."
His message to others who are where he once was: "My message is just to be your true authentic self."
We'll have more on the press conference with a complete transcript in a bit. For now, the focus is on beating the Los Angeles Lakers.