Posted Mar 3, 2014 8:24 PM
The Brooklyn Nets, barring injury over the next two weeks, are likely to sign Jason Collins for the rest of the season at the end of his second 10-day contract, according to a league source. Collins, 35, is the first openly gay athlete in one of the four major team sports.
The signing of Collins by the Nets last month to a 10-day contract created a media storm, with both Collins and the Nets saying they just wanted to judge him as a player, not a symbol. But Collins has been one of the most popular benchwarmers in league history. His number 98 jersey was the best-selling jersey on the league's NBAStore.com website last week, and the league pledged all proceeds from the sale of the jersey to two pro-gay rights organizations.
Yahoo! Sports reported the team will sign Collins to a second 10-day contract when his first 10-day expires on Wednesday.
In four games with the Nets, Collins averaged 0.8 points and 1 rebound in 8.5 minutes, shooting 25 percent from the floor.
The Nets signed Collins to a 10-day contract on Feb. 23, which general manager Billy King took pains to say in a team statement was a "basketball decision." But Collins's presence on an NBA team, no matter his statistics, had historic impact.
Collins came out in a first-person interview last spring in Sports Illustrated magazine, after 12 NBA seasons in which he had established himself as a solid but unspectacular big man, willing to do the dirty work of setting screens and giving hard fouls without complaint. Several teams contemplated signing Collins when the season began, but the Nets pulled the trigger after injuries to several of their big men left them thin up front.
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