Jason Collins said the reaction to him becoming the first openly gay player in the NBA had been positive, with one exception.
“Well, of course on Twitter you’re going to have a few crazies,” Collins said before the Brooklyn Nets practiced Tuesday at the men’s gym at UCLA. “I’ve always done a good job of just blocking those people immediately and never responding to that. That’s Twitter. As far as people who actually have my number, the support has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Among the messages Collins has received since he made history Sunday against the Lakers was one from tennis legend Billie Jean King, who recently returned from the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“It was very meaningful, and I very much appreciated it,” Collins said.
Collins has spent the last few days completing his physical and hanging out with twin brother Jarron and his family. He said he didn’t know when he would go from a media sensation to simply a basketball player.
“I have no idea,” Collins said. “That’s kind of up to you guys. That’s not up to me. With regards to the media, there’s only so many ways you can write the story. There’s only so many ways you can talk about the off-the-court stuff until really the focus is on basketball and how the team is doing.”
Collins, who went scoreless and grabbed two rebounds in his season debut, said he was not worried about proving himself to earn a second 10-day contract.
“I don’t think I really have to at this point in my career prove myself,” the 13-year veteran said.
Nets point guard Deron Williams praised Collins’ basketball IQ and toughness. There may be one area where Collins could be a little more efficient, however.
“We joke that he’s a professional fouler,” Williams said. “What did he have, five fouls? How many minutes did he play? Ten minutes? He’s a professional fouler. He did a good job.”
The Nets’ next game is against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at the Moda Center in Portland.