PHOTO: GETTY North America
Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Nets, who feel they're getting everything they expected from Collins when they signed him for frontcourt depth Feb. 23, are already operating under the premise that the 34-year-old will finish the season with them even though his second 10-day deal doesn't expire until after Friday. Sources say that the internal expectation all along was that Collins would be a Net for the rest of the season, from the moment he signed his first 10-day deal, as long he proved that he could still be an effective defender, which he did immediately.
The 7-foot and 35-year-old Collins is averaging about ten minutes playing time per game in eight appearances since his groundbreaking debut against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 24. That's when he made history as the first openly gay player in the rarefied "Big Four"—the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League.
The twelve-year NBA veteran publicly came out in April 2013 in a self-written article published in Sports Illustrated. The first sentence was: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”Collins had been playing with the Washington Wizards. Since the article's publication, he had not been resigned or invited to training camp by any of the league's 30 teams ... until the Nets signed him for his first ten-day contract in late February. Collins made his first appearance with the Houston Rockets in 2001. Collins averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in a 12-year NBA career.
Meanwhile: The University of Missouri's star defense player Michael Sam is preparing to enter the NFL draft as pro football’s first openly gay player. The 2014 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, May 8 and ends on Saturday, May 10. Bravo and many congratulations to these incredible men. It's amazing to witness these brothas making history.
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