Jason Collins plays for Nets, checks in, makes history, crowd cheers

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Ever since NBA Center Jason Collins made his historic announcement a couple months ago, the question has been asked, will he actually play? Yes, we’ve broken through now to have an openly gay male athlete in one of the major team sports. Jason Collins the social trail blazer is accomplished and accepted. But what about Jason Collins the NBA five?

He hasn’t set foot in a NBA locker room or court yet as an openly gay man. Well now that changed.

Jason Collins appeared tonight in Los Angeles for the Brooklyn Nets and thus became the first openly gay player to appear in the NBA, and in any of America’s four biggest professional sports. Collins entered in the second quarter with Brooklyn up 35-26. The crowd cheered and he forced a steal.

Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who hasn’t played in the league since April 2013, came out as being gay last April 29.


Jason Collins has not been a full-time starter in six years. His skills, modest even at his peak, are in decline. His age works against him, and even though his coming out was pretty much universally accepted, his profile as a NBA basketball player is not one in high demand. He won’t be a rotation guy, he’ll be an 11th or 12th player on the roster. Which puts him in a decent position- low risk,  high reward.

As I predicted, the franchise signing him could be one that’s endured a lot of losing lately and/or a team in need of publicity. Also, a city with a very large gay population would be a preferred destination. Signing Jason Collins would be an excellent choice for big market cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The Detroit Pistons were rumored to have shown serious interest in Collins. He’ll fit in better in a place with more social progressive values.

Jason Collins also has an engaging warm personality that NBA teams love in the locker room; and in their end of the bench guys.

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent analyst on news talk radio; with regular segments on ESPN,NBCCBS and Fox. A former NBC Chicago and Washington Times writer, he’s also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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