The Brooklyn Nets officially signed center Jason Collins for the rest of the season Saturday.
Collins became the NBA’s first openly gay player when he joined Brooklyn last month.
Collins’ second 10-day contract with the team expired Friday. Players are allowed to sign two 10-day contracts but then must be signed for the remainder of the season if a team wishes to keep them on the roster.
Through eight games with Brooklyn, Collins is averaging 0.6 points, 0.8 rebounds and 9.8 minutes. His high point total was three in the Nets’ 112-89 win over the Nuggets in Denver on Feb. 27. The team reportedly is impressed by the defense he is playing.
Collins, a 13-year NBA veteran, played for the then-New Jersey Nets from 2001-08. He also spent time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.
His re-introduction to the NBA in February drew comparisons with Jackie Robinson breaking of Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947.
“I’m just trying to be Jason Collins,” Collins said before his first home game in Brooklyn on March 3. “What Jackie Robinson did for baseball and for society is tremendous, but I’m just trying to be Jason Collins.”
Despite his meager on-court production, Collins gained celebrity status after joining the Nets. His jersey immediately became the NBA’s best-seller, and the league vowed to donate proceeds from Collins jerseys to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard was a gay college student who was murdered in a 1998 hate crime. Collins wears No. 98 in his memory.
The Nets visit the Wizards on Saturday night.
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