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Just one day after the NBA decided NBA to make Jason Collins' No. 98 jersey available due to high demand, four of the top five best-selling items on NBAStore.com are Collins items, an NBA spokesman told ESPN.com's Darren Rovell.
|Jason Collins may be on a 10-day contract with the Nets, but his No. 98 jersey is available for purchase after the league said it received high demand for it.|
The jerseys were made available Tuesday at NBAStore.com and the NBA Store in Manhattan after the league received hundreds of inquiries both online and at the store, the spokesman said. It quickly became the top-selling jersey on NBAStore.com.
Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, becoming the first active openly gay player in league history.
The Nets can give Collins a second 10-day deal once the first one expires. If they do, once that second deal expires, Brooklyn would have to decide whether to keep him for the rest of the season.
Collins had to wear No. 46 on Sunday because there wasn't enough time to get No. 98 ready for his first game.
He will wear No. 98 -- starting Wednesday night at Portland -- in honor of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured, beaten and murdered in an antigay hate crime in 1998.
Dennis Shepard, Matthew's father, confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor in an e-mail that he is planning to attend Thursday night's Nets-Nuggets game in Denver with his wife Judy, son Logan and Logan's girlfriend.
Ray Sheppard, 37, no relation to Dennis, came into the NBA Store looking for a Collins jersey at 8:30 p.m.
Sheppard, though, decided to either come back to purchase a cheaper version or get one online because the only Collins jerseys in stock were the $250 authenics.
"It just came out and I wanted to be supportive," said Sheppard, a Brooklyn resident who has rooted for the Nets ever since they moved to the borough at the start of the 2012-13 season. "I think it's great that Jason is the first (openly gay player)."
According to a store employee who was working in the area, three authentic Collins jerseys were purchased after they first went up on the rack at around 5 p.m.