Jason Collins focused on the task at hand
Jason Collins made history earlier Sunday, but all he’s worried about is how he’s going to defend the pick-and-roll as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
Collins, 35, became the NBA’s first active openly gay player Sunday, signing a 10-day contract with the Nets.
"Right now I’m focused on trying to learn the plays — trying to learn the coverages, the game plan assignment. I don’t have time to think about history," Collins said in a press conference before the Nets played the Lakers.
Collins played 10 scoreless minutes with two rebounds and five fouls in the Nets’ 108-102 victory over the Lakers.
Coupled with the announcement that he made last spring along with the recent announcement from Missouri’s SEC Defensive Player of Year Michael Sam that he’s gay, Collins hopes the tide turns on how gay athletes are viewed.
"Similar to what Michael said, that it’s about him being a football player and me being a basketball player and trying to help our respective teams win," Collins said.
The 12-year veteran rejoins the Nets, where he played his first seven seasons of his career. Collins helped the Nets reach the Finals when they were in New Jersey in the early 2000s. Nets head coach Jason Kidd was his teammate at the time.
Collins hasn’t played since the final game of last year. He appeared in 38 games last season with Boston and Washington, averaging 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds off the bench.
"Physically I’m not worried about my conditioning or cardio or anything along those lines," Collins said.
The 7-footer adds depth in the front court and hopes his veteran leadership can help the Nets.
"I played for 12 years in the league. I know how to play basketball … I’m ready. Let’s do it."