After coming out publicly last April which made him the first gay professional basketball player, 34-year-old Jason Collins (who became a free agent in July) is now wondering and waiting for an NBA team to pick him up; a month after the NBA training camps opened up without his participation.
Are they against having the first openly gay NBA player or is it really a matter of age, skill and money?
“Sure, I’ve picked up another title [a gay man],” Collins told the New York Times. “But I feel that’s always who I’m going to be — that person who sets a good example, who represents the sport and is an asset to my team and a role model for other players.”
Collins, who is referred to as a “a marginal player with modest career statistics,” was asked if he thought the reasons for no NBA team making an offer yet was something more “sinister” than wanting younger blood on the courts, to which did not dismiss nor address it, but said, “You don’t want to speculate — I don’t go there.”
Collins also stated he feels there are players in the league right now that, quite frankly, I’m better than.”
Players haven been signed for teams Collins were considered for, including one that cost the team $500,000 less than the nearly $1.4 million he would’ve earned.
However, there is one possible opportunity for Collins.
Doc Rivers, who coached Collins for part of last season in Boston and is now the coach and chief basketball executive of the Los Angeles Clippers, told the NYT that he would sign him in a minute.
“Let me put it this way: if one of my bigs goes down and he’s not signed, I’m signing him,” Rivers said. “I’m not signing him because he’s gay. I’m not signing him because it’s a story and it brings us attention. I’m signing him because he has a value to help us win. I do have the advantage that I coached him, and I know what type of guy he is, how tough he is.”