After a week of surprising demand at the NBA Store and online, the NBA announced Friday that all proceeds from its sales of Jason Collins No. 98 jerseys will be donated to two charities supported by the Nets center. Collins says he is "thrilled" to help the organizations.
Here's the announcement..
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that it will donate all proceeds - not to be less than $100,000 - from the sale of Jason Collins Brooklyn Nets jerseys to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. In addition, the league will auction off Collins' autographed, game-worn jerseys to benefit the same organizations.
Collins became the first openly gay, active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports on Feb. 23, after signing with his original team, the Nets. Since he was added to the roster, Collins' jersey rose to the No. 1 spot on the top-selling jersey list at NBAStore.com. Collins chose to wear the number "98" in honor of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was murdered in 1998 after being targeted for being openly gay.
"I'm thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations, both of which work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life," said Brooklyn Nets Center Jason Collins.
The Nets have not determined if and when they will market Collins 98 jerseys. Team executives have said the team doesn't normally market gear worn by players on 10-day contracts. By doing so, the Nets have sacrificed profits since teams get 50 percent of the proceeds from sales in team stores, but only three percent of NBA sales.
Collins wears No. 98 to honor the memory of gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, tortured and killed in 1998. He met Shepard's parents Thursday in Denver.