Jason Collins , who made history last year when he became the first major league athlete to come out as gay during his active career was back in uniform on Sunday night for a new team.
The 35-year-old 7-footer made his debut with the Brooklyn Nets after signing a 10-day contract, making him the first openly gay athlete to play for a major American sports league. The journeyman center played 11 minutes during the first half of a 108-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, going scoreless and grabbing two rebounds and a steal while committing five fouls.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded the signing, writing, "We welcome @jasoncolins34 to Brooklyn and applaud his courage."
We welcome @jasoncollins34 to Brooklyn and applaud his courage. RT if you're proud Brooklyn will be emblazoned across his jersey.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) February 23, 2014
New York rapper Hesta Prynn seconded that emotion, as did Collins' new friend, Michael Sam , who recently came out on the cusp of starting his NFL career.
He also got props from Robbie Rogers, the openly gay soccer player for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Very excited to watch @jasoncollins34 tonight more importantly I am proud to call him my friend.— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) February 23, 2014
Collins has played with six different teams during his 12-year NBA career (including a seven-year stint with the New Jersey Nets) and was unsigned at the time that went public last April in a Sports Illustrated essay after finishing a stint with the Washington Wizards.