The Brooklyn Nets signed openly-gay center Jason Collins to a ten-day contract on Sunday. The 35-year-old center looks to make his debut at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night. Collins will then become the first openly-gay athlete to play for one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” general manager Billy King announced. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”
Collins hasn’t played since last season, when he averaged 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds a game in stints with Boston and Washington. His return to the Nets, the team that gave Collins his start in 2001, marks a reunion with numerous former teammates, including Garnett and Pierce, and head coach Jason Kidd.
The Brooklyn Nets entered the season with hopes of winning their first NBA championship after high-profile signings of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They labor through the home-stretch of the regular season fighting to even make the playoffs. Though preseason notions of a franchise-first championship may now appear dubious, the team’s struggles in the wake of their spending spree haven’t stopped Brooklyn from making high-profile signings.