7-Foot Openly Gay Center To Make Brooklyn Debut Monday Night Against Chicago

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They like what he’s done so far.

The Brooklyn Nets are apparently so pleased with Jason Collins’ play they will sign the 35-year-old center to another 10-day contract once his current one runs out on Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday.

Collins, a 7-footer who is the first openly gay player in the NBA, is averaging 8:30 of playing time and has provided a physical presence down low in his four games since signing his first 10-day contract.

The Nets (28-29) have won three of four overall and are now four games behind first-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

Collins, who is in his 12th season, will play his first game in Brooklyn on Monday night when the Nets take on the Chicago Bulls. He said recently he knows his role with the team, and after sitting out all season he’s thrilled to contribute in any way possible.

“I’m back playing basketball, so of course I’m enjoying this,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, numerous fans turned out that Barclays Center Monday night in support of Collins – not because he is the first openly gay NBA player, but because he could help the team.

A man named Carlos told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell that Collins is an able basketball player who apparently is being accepted by his teammates.

“He’s not a flamboyant guy so, you know, he’s pretty much – the way he played back in the day, he’s still doing the same thing, and just, you know, bringing his defense to the game – that’s it,” he said. “Just business.”

But some, including a man named George, found what Collins is doing to be courageous and uplifting.

“It’s good that he came out with this and everything and it’s good for the Nets; good for the NBA,” he told Baumgarten.

And some fans said they were there in spite of Collins’ being gay.

“I’m not really supportive of the cause of gay rights,” one fan said. “I’m not really supportive of it. I don’t believe in it.”

Collins has received plenty of support since coming out and returning to the league, and his historic comeback has been a major boost for the league. His No. 98 jersey rocketed to No. 1 in sales on the league’s official website on its first day available for purchase, NBA senior vice president Vicky Picca said last week.

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