Jarron Collins: Bro wants opportunity
In the five months since his brother Jason Collins came out as the first publicly gay active athlete in the four major professional sports, Jarron Collins has done his best to support him.
Right now, that means staying positive while his 34-year-old fraternal twin waits to see if an NBA team will offer him an opportunity to continue his career.
"He's in the best shape of his life. I've never seen him as physically strong as he is now," Jarron Collins told ESPN on Thursday. "So from that standpoint, he's good to go if he's given the opportunity, and I'm optimistic he will.
"It's one of those things where you just have to see."
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Jarron Collins, who works as a scout for the Los Angeles Clippers and a color commentator on college basketball broadcasts, said he believes that his brother can still contribute to an NBA team in a number of ways.
"My brother wants an opportunity to play and contribute to a team. He doesn't just want to be in a camp for the sake of being in a camp," Jarron Collins said. "He wants to contribute to a team's success, whether that be in his normal role of being a backup center and providing that leadership at the end of the bench or what he does on the court -- getting those rebounds, playing good defense on the post players. That's his role. Everybody knows what he does. It's just a matter of the opportunity presenting itself."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Jason Collins in Boston for the first part of last season, agreed that "there is a veteran role in the NBA for him" but added that "it has to be a right fit at this point in his career."
"He's one of the best team players that I have ever coached," Rivers said of Jason Collins. "He gets it. He gets what a teammate is all about, gets his role. When I coached him, he had a huge value to our basketball team."
The market for Collins' skill set has diminished in recent years, due to the dearth of talented offensive-minded centers. This year, the collective bargaining agreement may also have played a role, as teams try to stay under the salary cap and luxury-tax threshold.
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"My brother and I feel that the NBA is for the best of the best who play basketball in the world, and my brother considers himself to be amongst that group," Jarron Collins said. "People's opinions are going to vary, and obviously people have different opinions about that. But that's my brother's opinion."
Jarron Collins said he wasn't yet considering a scenario where his brother isn't able to continue his basketball career.
"I just focus on the positive," he said.
But if his brother doesn't find a team this year, Jarron Collins said it shouldn't diminish the courage it took for him to come out publicly in April.
"He came out for himself, so he could live his life openly and honestly," Jarron Collins said. "So that doesn't diminish anything. He is a role model to a lot of people. I know people have used the word hero. That could be debated. But it did take a lot of courage to step forward and come out publicly the way he did. The strength of his character is represented by that action he took in coming forward."