Jason Collins Waits And Wonders Why No NBA Team Has Signed Him Yet

Jason Collins 660After 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.”

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  • bledoutcolor

    I honestlythink this may have more to do with age, skill, and his stats than anything. Unfortunately he wasnt exactly a big name in sports even before coming out. Im not interested in sports at all and had never heard of him, and I would imagine most casual observers hadnt either. I may be wrong on that since i dont follow basketball though. Its not to say there may not be other factors, but I dont think you can downplay the fact that as a pro athlete he is nearing the end of his prime and never really hit the peak some other NBA athletes have. But at least he accomplished something much more important than being good at ball during his career, Kobe Bryant et al cant say that.

  • TheMarc

    @bledoutcolor: I think you’re exactly right. If he were a young powerhouse, he would’ve been signed in a heart beat. NBA teams are businesses in the business of winning; if anyone thinks he can be an asset on the court, he will be signed.

  • Snapper59

    He averaged one point per game. One. You can’t exactly play the race card in the NBA, so he’ll play the gay one. One point.

  • xtincta

    Welp Kerry Rhodes didn’t get signed either, wonder why……

  • craigers

    I think this has to do with age as well (more than ability). The tendency, as Doc Rivers alluded, is to sign guys at the last minute who can help you for only a season or two, not at the start of training camp, especially if they are not a superstar. But let’s not go nuts and pretend there is no homophobia in the NBA. Come on.

  • DaveO

    As a marginal veteran and a known entity, he would not bring much value to a team during the training camp period. They won’t be building an offense around him and they’re more busy evaluating younger players anyway. Towards the end if camp or the start of the regular season, some team will conclude it is missing a role player which matches with Collins’ skill set.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Snapper59: He is not the one who brought up “something more sinister” though.

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