Jarron Collins thankful for support
Will Openly Gay Athletes Get Support?
SVP & Russillo
Jason Collins' twin brother Jarron Collins discusses his reaction to his brother's announcement, talks about when Jason told him, says he was stunned when he found out and talks about the relationship he and his brother now share in light of Jason's announcement.
Still, as the brothers met Tuesday morning to work out and catch up after a momentous day, Jarron said they agreed the response had been better than anyone could have anticipated.
"I was optimistic. I could see the culture and the climate changing. I think all of us can," Jarron Collins said Tuesday in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. "The incident with the 49ers, Chris Culliver, where he made some statements. ... That right there showed you the temperature had changed to when, 'You're out of line, and they're going to call you on it.'
"So I was optimistic there'd be support, but the overwhelming support and love ... has been absolutely remarkable. I really just want to thank everybody for the amount of support and love that's been shown to my brother."
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Jarron said he appreciated the public support from NBA veterans Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, among others, and public figures such as President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, musician Lance Bass and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
"That's what leaders do," Jarron said of the support. "The league has set the tone for how it's going to be. You need those active, perennial All-Stars that set the tone for how the rest of the league is going to act."
Jarron said he had numerous conversations with former teammates, coaches and executives all day Monday that confirmed for him that his brother's announcement had been well-received. He's also optimistic there's still a place in the NBA for his brother.
"You can talk to any of [Jason's] teammates and coaches over the years. Assistant coaches, GMs, front-office people, and he's as real as they come as far as being a professional," Jarron said. "You don't have to worry about him. He's going to be in the weight room. He's going to be running his sprints before the game. He's getting his shots up.
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"He can go two weeks without playing, and then a guy gets in foul trouble, you put him in, you know that he's going to be there on the defensive assignments. He doesn't need a double-team on the block against Dwight Howard. Dwight might disagree but ... . You know what you're getting from my brother in terms of professionalism, in terms of work ethic, in terms of leadership. I just think my brother's character could handle it. That's the type of person he is."
If there are any issues or concerns among his teammates, Jarron is confident his brother can handle those as well.
"It'll be fine. My brother is very mature," Jarron said. "If people have issues with it, my brother can talk to them about it. He's very mature. If you have an issue, just talk to him. It's an old adage: He's a man, you're a man, just have a conversation.
"He's very endearing to his teammates. It's just the way he is. Sometimes he can be a little bit of a goofball. He can be corny. But my overall feeling is that guys are going to be fine with it. At the end of the day, it comes down to can he play? Can my brother help my team win? Can he help the younger guys on the team improve? Can he be the leader and the professional that he's always been? And I think the answer to all those questions is yes."
The brothers met Tuesday morning, as they usually do in the offseason, to get in a workout and bring some normalcy back to their lives after such a momentous day.
"It's a big thing, but at the end of the day, it's not a big thing because it doesn't define who he is. It's part of who he is," Jarron said. "It'll be nice when this isn't a story ... when the day comes when this isn't a story."
They joked about how many Twitter followers each had added. Jason is up more than 80,000 followers after starting Monday with around 3,500. Jarron went from approximately 1,300 to 3,500.
But other than that, things were mostly the same -- except for one very important thing.
"He's definitely happier," Jarron said. "It took a lot of energy for him to not live his life in the way that he wanted to, out in the open and free.
"Each day gets better, but you can just see this weight lifted from him. He can just say, 'I'm gay. This is me. I'm free.' It's been a long time coming for him."