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Jason Collins enters game, becomes first openly gay NBA player (VIDEO)

Feb 24, 2014, 12:04 AM EST

That is what history looks like.

Yes, it looks like every other NBA game, although that is sort of the point. Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in the NBA when he checked in with 10:28 left in the second quarter as the Brooklyn Nets visited the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 10:37 in the game and gave the Nets some size, a couple of rebounds, some very strong screens, no points (he was never much of an offensive threat even at his peak) and was generally solid on the court.

Collins didn’t want to read much into this night.

“I don’t have time to really think about history right now. I have to focus on my job tonight,” he said before the game.

But it is symbolic and historic. American culture is changing and we tend to see that not through the slow slog of attitudes changing from generation to generation (even though that’s mostly how things change), we tend to see it in symbolic moments. This was one of those symbolic moments. One where some confused or frightened teenagers throughout the land can look up to him and see that things get better. So much better.  There’s few people better suited to this spotlight, this task.

We’re lucky to get to witness it.

  1. digitalpoo - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    Woopty doo

  2. RavenzGunnerz - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    It was great to see him penetrating the Lakers defense from the back…

    Lakers hit rock bottom

    • antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      #KobeSystem

  3. timb12 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Jason Collins is a decent guy. He hasn’t done anything to publicize himself after he came out, he’s handling things very well, but hopefully the media calms down. I hope there aren’t any more articles about it.

    • apkyletexas - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      ESPN credited him with a pretty solid plus-minus rating of +8 while he was on the floor tonight. Dude got 5 personal fouls in 11 minutes – that’s what I always heard he was known for. He’s averaged over 6 personal fouls per 36 minutes over the last 10 years of his career. Not a bad night for an old-timer who hasn’t played in about a year.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        is this satire? because that is a horrible stat line LMAO

    • antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:07 AM

      Why do you hope for that? You shouldn’t have had an issue even if he did do things to publicize himself. I kind of wish Collins was more effeminate. I already don’t like the precedent that is being set i.e. everything is cool so long as he behaves a certain way, which is basically the gist of your comment.

      • timb12 - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:13 AM

        I’m saying he’s downplaying it the way I believe he should. I don’t agree with homosexuality, but he’s acting like a professional. You would rather him play into the homosexual stereotype? Collins playing it like it’s no big deal and he’s just another basketball player is getting rid of the prejudice that exists. If he doesn’t treat it like a big deal other people won’t either and he’ll be treated with equality, which is the goal.

        It’s like if there’s a guy in a wheelchair and everyone is sensitive with hanging around him, until he kind of lets it be known that he’s just one of the guys and that his wheelchair (or sexual orientation) doesn’t define him or effect his abilities. I’m not saying a handicap and homosexuality are on equal footing, but this was the best analogy I could think of.

      • timb12 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Man I had a really good response, but I guess it got blocked. So my apologies if this is underwhelming.

        By Collins treating it like it’s not a big deal, he’s opening the door for more gay players to play. I personally don’t agree with homosexuality, but I like what Jason Collins is doing. He’s a basketball player and he’s focused on playing basketball. He’s showing the players, fans, and media he’s like everyone else. He’s just a guy. So while history was made, he made his point and was effective. I’m saying there shouldn’t be another article because I wouldn’t want an article saying “first gay player to play in the playoffs” or anything like that. At some point it becomes discrimination. That’s all I was saying. If he hugs his boyfriend after a game, who cares? He signed with the team to play basketball, and that’s what he’s doing. He really seems like a stand up guy.

      • sixerstrong - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        Luckily, nobody cares how you feel about the precedent.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Expected response, but that isn’t true because if I feel it then certainly many others do.

        We should already know better, but here we are again unnecessarily going through the same slow process. The majority of sports fans only appear willing to accept Collins (or any other gay male athlete) as long as he 1) keeps his mouth shut about it and 2) isn’t effeminate. This isn’t acceptance as it has too many conditions.

  4. monkeyhateclean - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    Someday, the gender someone is attracted to won’t be worthy of a PBT article. Looks like that day isn’t today.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      Someday you won’t be mad. Well, maybe not. Seems like you’ll always be ornery.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        The point

        —————–

        Your head

      • antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Cute. No.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        No, you did miss the point. He’s not mad at all. He’s saying that someday a gay basketball player will be as much of a news story as a black baseball player. It will be so common and normal that it won’t need to be a point of discussion. A gay basketball player will just be a basketball player, just like a black baseball player is just a baseball player. Our country is moving towards acceptance, and one day this won’t be a news story, but for now, it is. And honestly, it’s a good thing that it is, now. Like Kobe said, this gives a lot of inspiration and encouragement to the gay community.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        Ha. Okay. Well, I guess you see what you want to see. I’m typically on the defensive in Collins articles because most of the commenters post uncivilized bunk (sports fans – not the most worldly bunch). So I read this comment more cynically.

        I imagined monkeyhateclean as a guy who might say, “I’m openly straight. Now where’s my parade?”

      • Professor Fate - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Hilarious and, as usual, spot on.

  5. dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    what is that announcer talking about? There was an openly gay soccer player that played.

    the MLS has a big following. That was pretty disrespectful.

    and this guy played in an NBA game before, i dont get what all the hoopla is about.

  6. unfly - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Just what I was looking for, more news about 10 Day Contracts.

  7. savvybynature - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    What?! No video of what the first rebound from an openly gay NBA player looked like?

  8. strictlythedanks - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:41 AM

    Im surprised the media didn’t make a show out of it and set up a closet for him to walk out of as he entered the game or something.

  9. notinmyhouse56 - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    Wow, i think the most symptomatic in this one is the video in which JC doesn’t even make a b-ball play. That’s nonsense

    • nickjackalson - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:02 AM

      Yes, most symptomatic.. But why nonsense?
      Isn´t the whole thing about the change in society´s values and perceptions?
      (no b-ball plays there, either..)

      • notinmyhouse56 - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:08 AM

        I guess you’re right, i am personally very happy for Collins, who I consider to be a hard-working and valuable person. I just don’t understand all the hype. For me he’s just a player.He’s gay, so what? It doesn’t change my attitude over him as a person or player and it shouldn’t for anybody.

  10. nyfootballgiants - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:29 AM

    Look,he is a marginal NBA player. Does he deserve to play in the NBA? Sure. Does anyone really care who he dates? No. Enough already

  11. spillz121 - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    News Flash, society did not change today. Most people couldn’t care less, he’s a non factor, a foul waiting to happen.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Why’d you comment on the story then?

  12. raidmagic - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Wow he looks just like everyone else on the floor, except the other 9 guys can actually play ball, I’m glad he was strong enough to come out but all of you that keep making this a story are the problem. True tolerance is accepting someone’s race, creed or sexual orientation without comment.

    This is just like someone that tells a black joke then says, “some of my best friends are black”

  13. chubbyboy93 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Why do the media need to make a BIG deal out of this. I’m sorry but this isn’t historical. most (not all) WNBA players are gay and we all know they are but they don’t come and brag about it. Jason Collins is not brave for wanting attention and being the “face” of gay athletes.IF had he did not come out, then his name wouldn’t be relevant. The past few seasons, he’s been average 10 or less minutes a game. Now Nike is sponsoring him; which shows the man only wanted a few more $$$ to his name. There’s nothing wrong with that, but again why does preferences matter when people are more focus on your skills on the court??

  14. timb12 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Man I had a really good response, but I guess it got blocked. So my apologies if this is underwhelming.

    By Collins treating it like it’s not a big deal, he’s opening the door for more gay players to play. I personally don’t agree with homosexuality, but I like what Jason Collins is doing. He’s a basketball player and he’s focused on playing basketball. He’s showing the players, fans, and media he’s like everyone else. He’s just a guy. So while history was made, he made his point and was effective. I’m saying there shouldn’t be another article because I wouldn’t want an article saying “first gay player to play in the playoffs” or anything like that. At some point it becomes discrimination. That’s all I was saying. If he hugs his boyfriend after a game, who cares? He signed with the team to play basketball, and that’s what he’s doing. He really seems like a stand up guy.

  15. Miami305 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Guy who likes to boff other guys plays a basketball game does not equal history. Sorry.

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