35-Year-Old Center, If Signed, Would Become First Openly Gay Active Player In NBA

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — General manager Billy King said Thursday the Brooklyn Nets are looking to add a big man and confirmed the team worked out center Jason Collins, who would become the first openly gay active NBA player if signed.

King did not attend the workout that was reported by ESPN.com, but said he was told 7-foot, 255-pound Collins is “in shape.”

The Nets have been in need of height since losing starting center Brook Lopez to a broken foot back in December. They had been rumored to be very interested in Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill, but were unable to acquire him prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. And with Reggie Evans traded to the Sacramento Kings, Collins could fill that void, ESPN reported, perhaps on a 10-day contract to start.

Collins revealed at the end of last season he is gay. The 35-year-old center played his first six and a half NBA seasons with the then-New Jersey Nets before bouncing around with five different teams, including playing in 38 games for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards during the 2012-13 season. He hasn’t been particularly productive in recent years, but has a number of former teammates on the Nets, including coach Jason Kidd.

For his career, Collins is averaging 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.

The Nets (25-27) are currently three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.

Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year from Missouri, recently revealed he is gay and is taking part in this weekend’s NFL draft combine.

Not long after Sam made his announcement on Feb. 9, Collins took to Twitter to call him “a great young man who has shown tremendous courage and leadership.”

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