More than four months after he became the first male athlete who actively plays in a major American sports professional league to come out as gay, former Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has yet to sign with another team.
Both the Pistons and Nets have passed on signing Collins, according to a CBS News report. Collins averaged one point and one rebound per game last year while with the Celtics and Wizards.
NBA training camps begin in late September. ESPN reported that, ”An informal survey of league executives at Las Vegas Summer League suggests that Collins, who remains a free agent, stands a good chance to be in uniform on opening night this fall as teams flesh out their rosters with 12th, 13th and 14th men in the weeks leading up to training camp.”
Collins has repeatedly declined the Washington Blade’s requests for an interview since he announced he’s gay in an op-ed that Sports Illustrated published in its May 6 edition, but he has appeared at a number of LGBT-specific events since then. These include attending an LGBT fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York City on May 29 that First Lady Michelle Obama attended and marching in Boston’s annual Pride parade in June with Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III, with whom he lived while they attended Stanford University.
Collins, 34, introduced Seattle rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the MTV Video Music Awards in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 25 before they performed their song “Same Love” that advocates for marriage rights for same-sex couples.
“I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew,” Collins wrote in his Sports Illustrated op-ed. “Yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin are among those who applauded Collins after he came out.
“His coming out will have a positive impact on an untold amount of lives,” retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who came out in 1981, told the Washington Blade during a June interview. “It’s just adding to the groundswell of acceptance.”
President Obama also reached out to Collins after he came out.
“I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Obama told reporters after Sports Illustrated posted Collins’ op-ed to its website in late April. “One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.”