Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major American professional sports when the Brooklyn Nets power forward checked into the game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers in the second quarter, inspiring a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
Collins, at the urging of coach and future Hall of Fame talent Jason Kidd, was signed to a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the day. The 35-year-old NBA
12-year veteran, revealed last April in a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated and has garnered support throughout the sports world and beyond, including the White House.
Collins played 11 minutes in the Nets’ 108-102 win over the Lakers, going scoreless but picking up two rebounds, a steal and five fouls — which is exactly what he was brought on to do.
Take a look at reactions from around the league and beyond:
“His impact (Sunday night) is greater than what people think,” said Kobe Bryant said on Sunday. “You look at it from the context of having the first openly gay player. But they missed the domino effect that it has way beyond sports.
“There is a kid out there who … is going to say, ‘Jason gave me strength in dark moments to be brave. He gave me courage to step up and accept myself for who I am despite what others might be saying or the public pressures. He gave me strength and bravery to be myself.’”
— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) February 23, 2014
In a press release, GM Billy King says signing Collins was a basketball decision. “We needed to increase our depth inside,” King said.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) February 23, 2014
Mike D’Antoni on Jason Collins playing w/ Brooklyn: “It’s great. It’s terrific. If he can help them as a basketball player, there you go”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 23, 2014
Congrats Jason Collins back in the league!
— Kenny Anderson (@chibbs_1) February 23, 2014
Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday. Today should be a pretty cool day!
— jarron collins (@jarronctwin) February 23, 2014