BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been nearly 11 months since Jason Collins announced he was gay in a Sports Illustrated article, and the Brooklyn Nets center said it’s been a whirlwind ever since.
But Collins, a 13-year NBA veteran who spent part of last season with the Boston Celtics, says he’s received nothing but support from his NBA brethren and fans alike.
“It’s been 100 percent supportive. Everyone has been great,” Collins told reporters Friday morning at the TD Garden. “I think the NBA overall, it’s a brotherhood. It’s like a family. We’re all very supportive of each other.”
Collins signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on February 23, and became the first openly gay athlete in the four major U.S. sports. He has since signed a second 10-day contract with the Nets, and is excited for his first game back in Boston on Friday night.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing tonight here in the Garden,” Collins told the group of reporters at Brooklyns’ Friday morning shootaround. “Playing for the Celtics, a first class organization, I have a lot of friends here still in town.”
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Collins said the media blitz has slowed some since his Nets debut, which he expected would happen eventually.
He said he came out to family and friends early last season, but he kept it private until after the season. He spoke with former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and former Celtics and current Nets teammate Paul Pierce before making his announcement, and their support eased the difficulty of his situation.
“It meant a lot, it means a lot,” Collins said. “Doc Rivers is obviously a Hall of Fame coach, and Paul and a couple of other teammates within the organization I called before the announcement was made. Their support means the world. I was thinking along my the lines of I wanted to tell my own truth, my own story.”
“Most of my friends and family knew last season when I was playing for the Celtics and Wizards. That’s just a credit to the people that I have in my life, that I can share that with them and it did not become public,” he said. “There are a lot of people in my life that are very protective of me, and I’m glad I had that outlet where I could be myself with friends and family. That’s why at the end of last year I was ready to be myself with everyone else.”
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