Nets to sign Jason Collins again
Collins' 10-day contract expires on Tuesday and the team will sign him to a second deal, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports. The expectation is that Collins will remain with the team and sign for the season after the second 10-day contract expires, barring unforeseen circumstances.
On Monday night against the Chicago Bulls, Collins played his first home game since signing with the Nets on Feb. 23.
Late in the Nets' 96-80 victory over the Bulls, the Barclays Center crowd began chanting "Jason Collins! Jason Collins!" Collins entered the game with 2:41 left and received a quick standing ovation before play resumed. He finished with a rebound, a steal and a foul, missing his only field goal attempt.
"It was cool," Collins said of the support. "It was a lot of fun going into the game, but the most important thing was that we got the win."
Asked when he thought he'd finally be able to look back on the experience and understand its significance, Collins replied half-jokingly, "When I officially retire, I will know. As of right now, I'm playing games and next up is Memphis (Wednesday)."
Collins made history the day he signed his first 10-day contract when he played against the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in one of North America's four major professional sports.
Collins was greeted Monday by a large gathering of reporters and cameras at a pregame news conference. He was asked about comparisons to Jackie Robinson playing and breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"I'm just trying to be Jason Collins," he said. "What Jackie Robinson did for the sport of baseball and our society [is] tremendous. But I am just trying to be Jason Collins."
Collins has said repeatedly that he wants the focus to be about basketball and not his sexual orientation. But he is grateful for the positive reaction he has received from the Nets, opposing teams and fans.
The 7-foot center said he was surprised at how his No. 98 jersey has become a best-seller. Collins chose the number to honor Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student who was beaten, tortured and killed in 1998.
"Honestly, I have been a little bit surprised," Collins said. "But it is great to see all that support for the jersey and all that it stands for and why I chose the number. It is one of those pleasant surprises in life and thank you to all the people who have gone out there and bought the jersey."
Entering Monday's game against the Bulls, Collins had appeared in four games, totaling three points and four rebounds in 8.5 minutes a game. He has received warm ovations in each of the four road games he has played.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.