Jason Collins never played much in Boston, but always seemed ready to do garbage time for Doc Rivers on the bench for the Celtics.
As the first round of playoffs came to an end, the man who was traded to the Washington Wizards for Jordan Crawford trumped his former teammates in Boston by becoming the first active professional athlete in a major sport to announce that he is gay.
Collins will likely increase his income from a battery of endorsements. The Celtics are likely kicking themselves for letting him go when they could use some good publicity.
Jason never made much noise in Boston and seemed like an affable and pleasant sort. He never broke into Doc Rivers’s rotations. If he made a splash off court in the lively Boston gay community, there are more people keeping the down and low downlow.
His historic date of April 29, 2013, will hardly put him into the immediate spotlight. His team is not part of post-season. Fan reaction on the court will need to remain for next season’s tour around the league. Had he remained in Boston, we wonder if he would have dared to come out with a pivotal game coming up on Wednesday, May 1st.
Nevertheless, the NBA has trumped the NFL, which was touting that their gay players would come out of the closet first. Of course, Jason Collins is no spring chicken, and coming out on the heels of retirement is a distinct possibility if he does not make a team next season.
A real test shall be for the player with the bulk of his career still ahead of him. Nonetheless, we must laud Jason for his courage, though that has now become the cliché with a entourage of fellow players all tweeting him best wishes.
We know Doc Rivers knew something a few weeks ago when he took his team to watch the new movie 42 about Jackie Robinson and breaking the color barrier in baseball—and noted to the press that the next big splash would be a gay player coming out in the NBA.
Jason’s teammates were all likely aware in varying degrees to the situation while he was in Boston, but we are sorry he couldn’t have made his announcement right next to Lucky the Leprechaun at the Boston TD Garden.