Feb 28, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
Jason Collins wears the number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student brutally murdered in Wyoming in 1998 because of his sexuality. It was that incident that spurred a national discussion and legislative push on hate crimes against homosexuals (Wyoming had no such law to charge the accused with in this case), including the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into law in 2009.
Shepard’s parents, particularly his mother Judy Shepard, are now active advocates of-hate crime legislation as well as tolerance programs, something promoted by their Matthew Shepard Foundation.
After Collins’ Brooklyn team easily handled a shorthanded Denver squad on Thursday night, Collins — the first openly gay player in the NBA — met with the Shepard family and presented them with a jersey. It was something Collins described to the media after the game as “one of those cool treats in life” (via the Associated Press).
- Should NBA coaches get NFL style challenge flags? 17
- Report: Suns discussing trade possibilities for Eric Bledsoe 25
- Report: Sixers may look to trade for Amar’e Stoudemire at this season’s deadline 32
- Kevin Durant reiterates that rest was his reason for withdrawing from Team USA 9
- Kobe Bryant says he will not be same player as before, says he’s evolved into something equally good 25
- Report: Agent for Greg Monroe pursued sign-and-trade deals with five teams, including Thunder and Blazers 25
- Derrick Rose sits out another Team USA practice, not likely to start Wednesday 23
- DeMarcus Cousins practices with team USA Tuesday, says he’s 50-50 for Wednesday game 2