The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

February 24, 2014

Nets' Collins becomes NBA's 1st openly gay player

(Continued)

"We're going to bring in a basketball player," King said. "It's not about marketing or anything like that."

The Nets posted a photo on their Twitter account of Kidd watching Collins sign his contract, encouraging followers to retweet it to welcome Collins to Brooklyn.

Collins is third in Nets history with 511 games played, and also ranks in their top 10 in minutes played, and offensive rebounds and total rebounds. A limited offensive player, the Nets hope he can still provide a presence defensively and on the boards.

"I know Jason Collins is a competitor. One thing I know about him is he fouls very hard," Miami's Dwyane Wade said with a laugh. "He's one of those tough veterans. I'm sure he's happy to be back playing in the league. Welcome back."

Since making his announcement last year, "Life is more exciting for me," Collins said. "I mean, I don't have to hide who I am and I can be my normal self. The past 10 months have been incredible. I'm making new friends, hearing different people's stories, sharing experiences. It's just been an overall positive."

Collins grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and has a house here, so there was some normalcy to his day.

"It was pretty easy for me just to come to the game tonight," Collins said, "drive down the 405, take the 10 and get here in 20 minutes."

Hours later, he was helping get his teammates open and contributing to a win. He said his favorite moment was hearing Jordan Farmar of the Lakers complain that he had set an illegal pick.

"I know that I can play in the NBA and it felt good to be out there tonight," Collins said.

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AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York and AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami and Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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