The Nets announced the signing of Jason Collins to a 10-day contract on Sunday, making him the first openly gay, active professional athlete to play for any of the four major professional sports leagues in the country.
While that’s a milestone certainly worth celebrating, the best part of the Collins signing is that it has nothing to do with his sexual preference.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” Nets GM Billy King said in the team’s official release — one which made no mention of Collins’ sexuality.
Brooklyn was after Glen Davis to shore up its front court rotation, and had he chosen the Nets instead of the Clippers after being bought out by the Magic, the historic addition of Collins might not have taken place — further proving that his signing was 100 percent about basketball, and nothing else.
A team can sign a player to up to two 10-day contracts, after which they must sign him for the remainder of the season if they wish to further retain his services. But there’s a good chance that if Collins impressed enough in workouts for the Nets to add him, he’ll stick for the rest of the season — especially when considering the fact that Kevin Garnett rests on the second night of back-to-back sets.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement on the Collins signing:
“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team. Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”
Collins will be in uniform Sunday night in Los Angeles when the Nets face the Lakers.