- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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“It’s a really prestigious honor,” Collins said. “I’m really thankful to the people at Time for putting me on the list.”
This season, Collins became the first openly gay player in NBA history.
“Like I said before, it’s a cool honor, but I know I’m not just doing this by myself,” he said. “There have been a lot of people who have helped me get to where I am, a lot of people who have made the path easier for me, and that’s the one thing I hope I’m doing for other people is making it easier for them to live their authentic life.”
Collins’ good friend Chelsea Clinton wrote the story that was featured in the magazine. The two met while at Stanford.
“It was really cool,” Collins said. “I texted her this morning and -- because obviously we talk every now and then -- and was like, ‘How did you [keep it a secret]?’ She kept it a secret from me. Although my sister-in-law, my brother’s wife, she did know, and my sister-in-law is good at keeping secrets as well.”
Collins said he didn’t find out about the honor until Thursday morning.
“Her words were very touching, and like I said, she’s a good friend, and before about a year ago, before all of this broke, I called her and asked for her advice on how to live your life in the public eye, and her words were a great piece of advice,” Collins said.
Collins was thankful to the entire Nets organization for allowing this to happen.
Nets coach Jason Kidd was happy for Collins. The two played together in New Jersey.
“It’s nice to know one of the Top 100,” Kidd said. “I know one of the Top 100 that is influential to our community and to our world.”
Kidd was instrumental in the Nets signing Collins, though he downplayed his role.
“I didn’t do anything,” Kidd said. “His basketball talent, his personality, if it wasn’t us, it was going to be someone else. So, again, we’re happy to have him on board just like we said from day one.”
1dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo