DENVER (AP) Jason Collins had plenty of gifts for Matthew Shepard’s parents: a basket, a blowout, an autographed No. 98 jersey that he wears in honor of their son.
They also shared some laughs.
Collins played the final eight minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 112-89 romp over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and although his three points and four fouls weren’t much to look at in the box score, rarely has the 35-year-old center been this proud of a performance.
”I got them a bucket,” the center said.
After his cameo in Brooklyn’s recovery from a 44-point loss against the Trail Blazers 24 hours earlier, Collins, the first openly gay athlete in America’s four major sports, met with the parents of the slain Wyoming college student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay.
”It was delightful. We were happy to finally have the opportunity to meet,” Judy Shepard said.
Her husband said he hopes the day quickly comes when someone’s sexuality is a non-issue.
”There should be no publicity over this. It should be just an ordinary every day thing, like the military now,” he said.
The NBA suspended Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins for one game and fined him $20,000 for punching an opposing player and verbally abusing an official in a game earlier this week.
The league suspended Cousins for punching Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach with 9:44 remaining in the first quarter of the Kings’ 129-103 loss on Tuesday night in Sacramento. Cousins was fined for verbally abusing official Courtney Kirkland and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter.
OREM, Utah (AP) – New Mexico State guard K.C. Ross-Miller hurled the ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker seconds after the Wolverines’ 66-61 overtime victory against the Aggies, setting off a wild brawl Thursday night that involved fans who came on the court.
Ross-Miller picked up the ball at midcourt and fired it at Hunsaker – the son of Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker – from close range, hitting him in the leg.
New Mexico State guard DK Eldridge was in the middle of the scrum before he was dragged away by Aggies coaches as order was restored.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Police checking on reported damage to a car belonging to Richie Incognito, the player at the center of the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal, say Incognito told an officer he did the damage himself.
Sgt. Mark Clark says the Dolphins guard took responsibility when police contacted him.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Arrest warrants were issued for former NFL safety Darren Sharper and another man, accusing them of raping two women in New Orleans last year.
Sharper also is under investigation in sexual assault cases in Florida, Nevada and Arizona and has pleaded not guilty to rape charges in Los Angeles.
The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and New Orleans Sex Crimes detectives obtained the warrants for Sharper, 38, and Erik Nunez, 26. Each faces two counts of aggravated rape, a police department spokeswoman said in a news release.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a five-year contract with wide receiver Riley Cooper and a seven-year deal with center Jason Kelce.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Rory McIlroy shot a 7-under 63 with birdies on the last two holes at PGA National giving him a one-shot lead over Russell Henley after the first round of the Honda Classic.
Tiger Woods, in his first tournament in a month, couldn’t make a birdie putt early and had to scramble for pars late in his round. A birdie on the last hole gave him a 71, leaving him eight shots behind.
SINGAPORE (AP) – Australia’s Karrie Webb shot a 6-under 66 to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s HSBC Women’s Champions.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada state regulators banned mixed martial arts fighters from using testosterone replacement therapy.
The Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously in Las Vegas to quit granting therapeutic use exemptions for fighters undergoing the so-called TRT.
PHOENIX (AP) – Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for the Milwaukee Brewers since completing a season-ending, 65-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s anti-drug agreement.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Derek Jeter got a partial standing ovation Thursday before hitting into a double play in his first at-bat of the first spring training game of his final season.
The New York Yankees captain, who turns 40 in June, hit a grounder to second off Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton. He swing and missed once, hit three foul balls and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
ALLEN, Texas (AP) – A $60 million Texas high school stadium that got national attention for its grandeur and price tag will be shut down indefinitely 18 months after its opening.
Eagle Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Allen will be closed until at least June for an examination of ”extensive cracking” in the concrete of the stadium’s concourse, the district said in a statement. The closure will likely affect home games at the stadium this fall, the district said.
LONDON (AP) – Nicolas Anelka was banned for five games by the English Football Association and immediately suspended by West Bromwich Albion for a racially tinged goal celebration.
The French striker performed the gesture, which is known in his homeland as a ”quenelle” and has been described as an ”inverted Nazi salute,” during a Premier League match in December.