BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Jason Collins seemed at ease shooting layups at the pre-game shootaround hours before his historic home debut with the Brooklyn nets.
Some 67 years before, after another trailblazer named Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 in the same borough, but with baseball’s Brooklyn dodgers. However, Collins — who is the first openly-gay active professional athlete in a team sport – says he is honored for the comparison with Robinson, but wants to be looked at as just a player.
“Jackie Robinson did great things in baseball and I respect what he’s done, it’s been tremendous.”
The Nets have won three-of-four since Collins’ return, and the response he says he got on the road was overwhelming. It was no different Monday in Brooklyn against the Bulls, where Collins received a standing ovation.
“It’s not a big deal, there are bigger issues in the world, who cares who he is with a man or a woman, as long as he can play basketball, that’s all that counts,” said one woman outside the Barclays center
Jason came in averaging 8.5 minutes a game as he continues to get his conditioning back. He’s known as a physical player down low where much of the smack talking happens. He says he hasn’t heard anything ugly from other players, however.
“It’s been all support from the players when I’m on the court, it’s all good,” he said.
On Monday Collins was inundated with ticket requests from family and friends who live in New Jersey. He’s living out of a hotel, and with his hectic schedule he’s had very little time of his own.
So how did he spend his precious day off on Sunday? He went to Costco.