Jason Collins, a 35-year-old free agent, signed a 10-day contract Sunday with the Brooklyn Nets, which makes him the first openly gay athlete in one of America's four major sports leagues.
The 7-foot center, who came out after playing last season with the Boston Celtics, is a 12-year veteran primarily known for his defense and rebounding. He had not previously been signed by any team this season.
ESPN first reported that Collins was expected to sign Sunday and possibly play in the evening at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Collins worked out for the Nets and the two sides were in discussions on a contract Sunday.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” Nets General Manager Billy King said in a statement. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”
Collins will be an easy fit with the Nets since he played with Coach Jason Kidd early in his career with the New Jersey Nets when they reached two NBA Finals. He also played last season in Boston with former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who signed last off-season with Brooklyn.
Collins played 38 games last season for Boston and the Washington Wizards, averaging 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10 minutes a game while shooting a career-low 31% from the field. The former Studio City Harvard-Westlake High and Stanford star had career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds a game.
“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”
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