Jason Collins Quietly Takes the Court as NBA’s First Openly Gay Player

Sometimes history is boring.Nets on YesSorry, Michael Sam, you may have to settle for being the first openly gay NFL player (maybe) rather than the first openly gay “big four” sports athlete. Jason Collins, the NBA center who came out of the closet last year, but hasn’t played since then, has now played since then. Over the weekend, the Brooklyn Nets signed Collins, and he played for 11 minutes Sunday night against the Lakers.

The Nets won 108-102 against the Lakers. The Associated Press noted that the poor performance by the Lakers these days prompted ESPN to drop the game from its schedule, meaning the historical moment was not televised nationally.

So, how was Collins anyway? Collins was not brought on for flash or for big numbers. There’s a reason people who aren’t basketball fans hadn’t heard of him. His job is to be a big, intrusive person who gets in the way of the opposing players so that his teammates can score. He fouls a lot. Kevin Arnovitz at ESPN analyzed Collins’ brief appearance with the appropriate basketball jargon:

Collins then went to work and it was vintage unvarnished Collins. Nets coach Jason Kidd wanted a backup center who talked on defense, and that’s what Collins proceeded to do, calling out directions from the back line like a veteran big man. He fouled like crazy -- five in 11 minutes of court time. On the offensive end, he appeared rusty and his timing was off. He missed his only shot and fumbled a pass from Deron Williams while rolling to the bucket.

On the positive side of the ledger, Collins also plastered defenders with screens. After the game, he recounted with a broad smile his favorite moment of the night — witnessing Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar kvetch to the officials that Collins was setting moving picks. For guys like Collins who perform janitorial duties, this is among the highest compliments.

Arnovitz noted that the crowd in Los Angeles didn’t exactly “create a moment” for Collins’ return to the floor:

[T]hose who wanted a sentimental, politically satisfying Aaron Sorkin screenplay instead got a grainy Frederick Wiseman documentary utterly devoid of drama. There was a smattering of supportive applause and a few standers, but many couldn’t be bothered to look up from their phones.

Arnovitz, though, fails to note that the Staples Center responded to Collins taking to the court by playing the theme song to The Addams Family, clearly a shout-out to Paul Rudnick, the openly gay screenwriter of Addams Family Values. (Why should sports writers be the only ones to get to traffic in trivia?)

Anyway, it was obvious all along that should Collins return to active competition, it was going to be in this low-key fashion. This contract is for 10 days, so we’ll just have to see how his remaining games go.

Watch history being made before a mostly disinterested but kindly crowd below:

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  • John||

    This story will never fucking die. Even when it dies, it will live on in zombie form as a story about how it isn't a story anymore.

  • Rasilio||

    Yes please let it fucking die already.

    Same with Ellen Page's coming out event. I'm tired of hearing about it. You just now came out of the closet because you were tired of living a lie? WTF is wrong with you where in our society is it dangerous to be gay any longer?

    You come out of the closet and they Fete you like you are some hero who saved thousands of lives.

    Sorry it doesn't work that way, sure coming out publicly as gay in the 80's might have been marginally dangerous and it might have damaged your career some in the 90's but there hasn't been a legitimate reason to be in the closet in a decade so can we just fucking stop with the public announcements of your sexuality. Just fucking date who you want, fuck who you want, and STFU about it unless asked a direct question on the subject at which point your only legitimate response should be to punch the asker in the face for invading your privacy

  • John||

    You would think after Ellen Degeneres and Jodie Foster, one of whom has a successful day time talk show and the other is still one of the bigger stars in Hollywood, word would be out no one cares if a woman is gay. But Paige is a B list actress who is about to get a bit too old to play the perky teenager or college age parts she has always played. She needs something to get her name out there. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if she wasn't' even gay and just said so to get her name in the public eye.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    But Paige is a B list actress who is about to get a bit too old to play the perky teenager or college age parts she has always played.

    She isn't even B-list. Her acting is a cookie-cutter of the lame "detached world-weary cynical female" that got old as soon as the dotcom bubble popped. Nolan could have left her out of Inception completely and no one would have noticed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is not that long ago that homosexuality was criminalized in a good many states. States denied people basic rights like marriage and adoption. We've still got many teenagers who are bullied and tormented for suspicion of being gay.

    So I do not think making a big deal of a league that has operated for decades without having one person be an out and out gay person it having its first one is so out of hand.

  • John||

    You and every old white guy sports writer in America thinks so. No one else does though.

  • ||

    Just come out already, John.

  • John||

    What if I did Audrey? You of course being a liberal hurl the possibility as an insult.

    But I am the one who is homophobic. The only people on here who use homosexual as an insult are the liberals.

    I am sorry you have so many issues with gay an bi men Audrey. But acting like the implication of such is an insult, isn't going to help you work through them Audrey.

    And trust me Audrey. I am a libertine. If that sort of activity held any interest for me, I wouldn't make any secret about it.

  • Rasilio||

    A decade ago and even then it wasn't being gay that was outlawed, it was same sex intercourse.

    I don't know that police have ever had the ability to arrest you just for being gay, they basically had to catch you engaging in "immoral" activities and even if they did it hasn't happened on a regular basis since the 70's

  • Rasilio||

    A decade ago and even then it wasn't being gay that was outlawed, it was same sex intercourse.

    I don't know that police have ever had the ability to arrest you just for being gay, they basically had to catch you engaging in "immoral" activities and even if they did it hasn't happened on a regular basis since the 70's

  • Rasilio||

    A decade ago and even then it wasn't being gay that was outlawed, it was same sex intercourse.

    I don't know that police have ever had the ability to arrest you just for being gay, they basically had to catch you engaging in "immoral" activities and even if they did it hasn't happened on a regular basis since the 70's

  • Rasilio||

    A decade ago and even then it wasn't being gay that was outlawed, it was same sex intercourse.

    I don't know that police have ever had the ability to arrest you just for being gay, they basically had to catch you engaging in "immoral" activities and even if they did it hasn't happened on a regular basis since the 70's

  • Rasilio||

    A decade ago and even then it wasn't being gay that was outlawed, it was same sex intercourse.

    I don't know that police have ever had the ability to arrest you just for being gay, they basically had to catch you engaging in "immoral" activities and even if they did it hasn't happened on a regular basis since the 70's

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    But promiscuity in the comments, gang banging as it were, now that's a hangin' offense.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The Five-Knuckle Posting Shuffle.

  • grrizzly||

    If you want the topic to die, don't comment on it. There are plenty of posts today on Hit and Run that haven't drawn much attention.

    Nobody ever suggests that heterosexuals should STFU about who they date. On the contrary, they cannot stop talking about their relationships or publicly obsessing about female celebrities. But once teh gays are mentioned, then everyone gets so prudish right away.

  • Edgehopper||

    We talk about their relationships, not their sexual preference. When Jason Collins starts dating Ryan Seacrest, we might be interested.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    11 minutes? If he was straight he would have played the whole game!

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    I'll be in my bunk for the next minute and two seconds.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Arnovitz, though, fails to note that the Staples Center responded to Collins taking to the court by playing the theme song to The Addams Family, clearly a shout-out to Paul Rudnick, the openly gay screenwriter of Addams Family Values.

    WTF? It wasn't a shout out to a gay screenwriter. If anything, it was a shout out to the Addams' butler Lurch. Collins is a big man, Lurch is a big man. At the least, Staples Center was poking fun at the freakishly large humans that NBA centers are. Because they always play the Addams Family theme at Staples. It wasn't just for Collins. Way off the mark here, Scott.

  • John||

    The Adams Family theme is standard fair about every sporting arena these days. It is just a goofy song that gets the audience to clap and make noise. Saying it was a shout out to Collins is more than a bit of a reach.

  • Outlaw||

    They play it here in Orlando too.

    It's great that he's gay and all but this story (and all the other coming out stories) are getting really old.

  • Scott S.||

    Really, so you're suggesting my deliberately absurd, borderline nonsensical joke may not be true?

  • John||

    That or your joke didn't rise to a level of humor sufficient for anyone to recognize it as such.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Sorry Scott. It's early. I haven't finished my morning tea. Apologies.

  • Outlaw||

    Jokes are supposed to be funny!

  • RBS||

    Not at Reason!

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Fridays are all the proof I need to agree.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I got it! I got it!

  • Cyto||

    It is actually pretty impressive. Is the screenwriter for Adams Family Values actually gay? And if so, how much research did it take to come up with that obscure trivia?

  • Pelosi's Rabbit||

    They didn't have any Jobriath to play?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Jason Collins Quietly Fabulously Takes the Court as NBA’s First Openly Gay Player

    Better.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why am I supposed to care?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Because gays are in the NBA now! Forward to Libertopia!

  • John||

    Christian Lattner's NBA career is on the phone and would like to have a word with you.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Cherokee Parks is way gayer than Laettner.

  • John||

    Bill Bradly FTW

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Stop! Stop! Stop!

    You are triggering all my bad T-woof's memories.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yeah, the T'wolves 90's were pretty heavy with Dookie centers. Thank god you drafted KG.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I was about 15 feet from KG during his pre-draft workout with Kevin McHale and it was great.

    KG kept saying "Yes sir" to McHale during the workout. Finally after a lot of that McHale told him to stop calling him sir.

    WIthout missing a beat, KG started saying "Yes, Mr. McHale".

    After putting up with the antics of JR Ryder and Laettner, it was a breath of fresh air.

  • John||

    I head that KG jump and touched the very top of the back board ten straight times in that workout. Is that true or an urban myth?

  • Mike M.||

    Because Collins is the Jackie Robinson of our generation... or something.

  • GILMORE||

    Until men are giving blowjobs on the court at halftime, we shall never be free.

  • R C Dean||

    So bored. So very, very bored.

  • John||

    But you being bored and not caring is the story now RC. So the more you don't care, the more of a story your not caring will be.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...but many couldn’t be bothered to look up from their phones.

    The very best integration. The apathy is equally spread.

  • sarcasmic||

    Armed to the teeth: George Zimmerman's one-man arsenal includes AR-15, shotgun and three handguns
    George Zimmerman owns an AR-15, a 12-gauge shotgun, three handguns and has well over 100 rounds of ammunition
    All were loaded when police arrived at his home after a November 911 call by girlfriend Samantha Scheibe
    They were returned within weeks after she dropped assault charges against him


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....dguns.html
    That's a pretty low standard for "armed to the teeth." Then again, they are British.

  • Rebekah||

    Huh. I have the same .380 that Zimmerman does. I'm not sure how I should feel about that.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have the same .38 that Barney Fife does. I'm not sure how I should feel about that.

  • Rebekah||

    +1 bullet

  • John||

    I didn't know I was armed to the teeth. I don't have three handguns. But I have more rifles and two shotguns.

  • WTF||

    I several rifles, several shotguns, three handguns, and couple of thousand rounds of ammo (because I like to shoot and buying bulk is cheaper). I guess I count as a damn arsenal.

  • John||

    We are both potential domestic terrorists WTF

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Arsenal? Hell, you're a goddamned one-man wrecking machine.

  • Rebekah||

    Also, 100 rds? That's like 20 minutes of range time. Less if I break out my "assault weapons."

  • playa manhattan||

    "With well over 100 rounds of ammunition". OMG the horror!!!!

  • Drake||

    I have a few bricks of .22 in the attic. I can't imagine the horror that would induce.

  • Brett L||

    "Enough ammunition to shoot an entire Infantry company!"

  • Rasilio||

    well over 100 rounds of ammo?

    Hmm, 20 rounds for the AR, 7 for the Shotgun, and assume an average of 10 for each of the pistols. That doesn't even give him enough for 3 full loads on each weapon

    I'm thinking this reporter is simultaneously scared of guns, compeltely ignorant of any actual facts about guns, completely innumerate, and more interested in pushing an agenda than doing any actual journalism.

  • Cyto||

    This is the standard for any story about weapons seized by police. It is always an arsenal - usually a "small arsenal" - and it is usually laid out on display for the press. Normally the display is on a wrinkled bedsheet. This makes it more "seedy", evoking images of trailer parks and inner city gangs.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If a person were carrying all of those firearms on their person then I think you could say he was 'armed to the teeth,' but having them in his home? I would say most gun owners have up to five firearms.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I have more than that stashed around the house, let alone the gun room.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Seems that we have more milestones than miles these days. I blame cable tv.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    FFS, can we stop acting like these are historical milestones, already? Outside of a few wackos on either side, no one gives a damn. Are we supposed to clap like trained seals whenever a gay man does anything whatsoever that can possibly be considered a 'first'? Give me a fucking break.

  • John||

    It would be nice. Collins is the most boring of all NBA players, the big bodied, marginally skilled, aging big man. There is no reason for anyone to care about this story.

  • Outlaw||

    Arf arf arf! *claps*

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is he the first openly gay player in the league, or not IT? The league has operated for decades, it gets a lot of prominent attention. And yet until now there was no openly gay person in the league. Now there is. Given the long history of oppression of gays, which of course included a great deal of government force, why is it so boring and silly to make a big deal of this first?

  • sarcasmic||

    Oppression?

    *snort*

    I know a few blacks who would bitch-slap you for making that comparison.

  • Calidissident||

    So a group has to have it at least as bad as black people have had it in order to be oppressed?

    Seriously, by that logic, why does this website even exist? Everything libertarians complain about pales in comparison to past atrocities, so why even complain about them?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If someone not being admitted into the NBA's top ranks counts as 'oppression', then millions of Americans (including myself) have been oppressed lo these many years. I don't give a flying fuck about a 'long history of oppression' of gays in the context of modern-day America, where 'oppression' is the last word which can be used to describe their status.

    Too many minority groups in Western society are desperate to use a prior history of oppression to justify an unwarranted sense of importance in the here and now. There is no particular history of oppression in the league, and no reason to celebrate a mediocrity's 'coming out' as it is neither a demerit nor an achievement. Treating it as such is patronizing bullshit and has been repeated to the point of tedium.

  • Pulseguy||

    I agree this guy playing is not a story. And, even saying gay anything now is not a story. But, they were oppressed up until not that long ago. In my high school anyone even accused of being gay was harassed mercilessly. That would not have happened to a black or an Asian at that time. Gays have been killed without reason, and not that long ago. Also, jailed for their sexual wants not that long ago.

    However, like racism, it is now over, let's move on.

  • Calidissident||

    "However, like racism, it is now over, let's move on."

    That's an extremely naive statement. Obviously we've made great strides in both areas, but this is still a really dumb thing to say.

  • Calidissident||

    "If someone not being admitted into the NBA's top ranks counts as 'oppression', then millions of Americans (including myself) have been oppressed lo these many years"

    That "whoosh!" sound is you missing Bo's point. This logic is also pretty stupid. Was Jackie Robinson playing the MLB not significant? Note that I'm not saying Collins and his significance is in comparable to Robinson; just that your logic would necessarily apply to both of them.

    "I don't give a flying fuck about a 'long history of oppression' of gays in the context of modern-day America, where 'oppression' is the last word which can be used to describe their status."

    That's pretty stupid. Lawrence v. Texas was 10 years ago, and you think every issue gay people face in this country has just vanished?

    The bottom line is that if this really was as meaningless as people like you make it out to be, Jason Collins would not be the first openly gay person to play in four professional leagues that have seen tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people come through their ranks over the course of decades (and in the case of the MLB, over a century) each. I agree that exaggerating the significance can be tiresome. Collins coming out and getting signed isn't the same thing as Jackie Robinson (again, the only reason I referred to Robinson earlier was to poke holes in your logic, not to say or imply that Collins is equally important), but the "NOBODY CARES WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS!" is also juvenile and naive.

  • Pulseguy||

    Because it is boring and silly.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Who cares?

    That is all.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    whatever

  • Rhywun||

    At most, all of you Debbie Downers will have to deal with this story three more times. Let people who care have their moment(s).

  • RishJoMo||

    This makes a lot of sense dude, I liek the sound of that.

    www.Anon-Works.com

  • seguin||

    There was a smattering of supportive applause and a few standers, but many couldn’t be bothered to look up from their phones.

    Am I wrong in thinking this is the more heartening outcome?

  • John||

    No.

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