24 Feb 2014

Collins signs with Nets as first openly gay player

10:53 am on 24 February 2014

Veteran NBA basketballer Jason Collins has signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, making him the first openly gay athlete on a team roster in any of North America's four major professional sports leagues.

Collins, who last April revealed that he was gay in a Sports Illustrated article that was published after the National Basketball Association regular season, joined the Nets before today's game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

The 35-year-old is not a well-known sports star but won widespread praise for his groundbreaking personal statement issued 10 months ago.

Collins, who was nearing the end of his career, was not subsequently signed for the 2013-2014 season.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was quick to issue a welcoming statement, while the Nets general manager Billy King stressed that the signing of the 7-foot (2.13 m) centre helped the team on the court.