Sunday began with reports that Jason Collins was on the verge of signing with the Brooklyn Nets, which would make him the first openly gay athlete active in one of the four major North American sports.
It ended not only with Collins signing with the Nets, but taking the court at Staples Center, playing a game against the Lakers — in Los Angeles of all cities. As much of the sports world was fixated on the Daytona 500, what may likely be remembered as one of the most historic days in recent sports history evolved at the speed of Dale Earnhardt Jr. holding off a charging Sprint Cup field with the start-finish line in sight.
And with Collins’ historic game in the books (the Nets won 108-102) and nine days remaining on his current contract, let’s look back at a whirlwind day in which Collins went from possible veteran replacement to perhaps cultural icon:
Doc knows best
The wheels for Collins’ return were set in motion when the Orlando Magic released Glen "Big Baby" Davis on Thursday. Both the Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers (currently coached by Doc Rivers) wanted Davis’ services. Reportedly, if Rivers could sell Davis on the Clippers, the Nets would turn to Collins to fill their need in the frontcourt.
The 12-year veteran looked rusty in his first game since April of 2013, going without a point a grabbing two rebounds and committing five fouls in just 10 minutes of play. But the Nets got the win, and star point guard Deron Williams, after a season-high 30 points, said having Collins on the floor made a difference: