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Brooklyn Nets expected to sign Jason Collins to historic contract later Sunday

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Bruce Bennett

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.

Shelburne says the decision was about basketball.

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.

Jarron Collins, Jason's twin brother, also hinted at the move.

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.

Earlier today, the Nets top choice for their 14th man, Glen Davis indicated he would sign with the Clippers, setting up the big move.

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.

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.