NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jason Collins is staying in Brooklyn for the remainder of the season.
According to ESPN.com, the Nets will sign the center on Saturday after his 10-day contract expires.
The 7-footer became the first openly-gay athlete to play in the NBA — or any of the four major American professional sports leagues, for that matter — when he signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on February 23.
The veteran then signed a second 10-day contract with the Nets on March 5.
According to the website, after signing Collins initially the Nets had every intention of keeping him on the roster for the rest of the season, as long as he proved that he still had something left in the tank.
The 35-year-old has appeared in eight games with Brooklyn this season. Brought in to provide depth under the basket, he’s averaging 0.6 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.3 assists in 9.8 minutes per game.
“The fans have been great,” Collins told WFAN’s Marc Malusis on March 4. “It’s been really special being back. And I’m very proud to say that I’m playing for the Brooklyn Nets.”
His No. 98 jersey, worn in honor of slain gay college student Matthew Shepard, rocketed to No. 1 in sales on the NBA’s official website on its first day available for purchase. Collins met with Shepard’s parents when the Nets played in Denver on February 27.
“I would love to live in a world where it wouldn’t be a story,” Collins said. “But at the same time, as a world we’re not there. As a society we still have laws on the books that openly discriminate against gay people. So I think when society moves forward, it gets to that point where we have equal protection under the law for all members of the LGBT community, over time the focus will change.”
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