Who Will Sign Gay NBA Player Jason Collins?

A week into the NBA's summer signing period, Collins remains team-less, the NYT notes:

Twitter_collins"…and it could be weeks or even several months before he knows what his future holds. As he waits, he finds himself in a historic position as the first openly gay free agent seeking another contract. It is a moment being watched closely for its perceived sociological significance, although Collins himself is determined to keep his focus on basketball.

“I look at it, honestly, like any other free agency in the past several years, where I know I have to stay patient,” said the 34-year-old Collins, who played in only 38 games last season, averaging 10 minutes a game as a defensive-minded center for Boston and later Washington. “And I know that at this point in my career, you remain hopeful that there’s a job and an opportunity waiting for you once teams start to fill out their rosters.”

So what's the hold-up?

There could be teams that will shy away from signing Collins out of a fear of locker-room tension or the possibility of alienating some fans. Some franchises might simply be wary of the attention that would accompany Collins’s arrival, the added demands from the news media and the potential for a distraction.

Conversely, some teams might see an opportunity to demonstrate their open-mindedness or to connect with gay fans, while also adding a tough-minded veteran.

Let's go, NBA.

Comments

  1. Chris says

    And some teams don’t want to sign him because he isn’t very good—period. He is 34 years old and has not done much in his basketball career.

  2. MikeBoston says

    I somewhat agree with Chris. I think the lack of an offer has nothing to do with his coming out. He is a solid but average player and is aging out of the game.

  3. Joey Y says

    By all accounts he’s not a particularly good player, so him getting or not getting a team likely has nothing to do with him being gay. Conversely, if he sucks and ONLY gets a spot in order to draw attention to the team and draw gay fans, that’s lame. It’s a sports team, not a zoo.

  4. ripper says

    This whole thing reeked of publicity stunt the second he appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover. And now how interesting to note that the media has changed to calling him the “first openly gay free agent.”

    I do hope he gets signed. But he used being gay as a marketing tool to boost his profile. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  5. Sporty says

    Chances are very slim. He is basically at the very end of his career. His productivity over the past few years (especially last year) were dismal. If he is signed, it would just be for the publicity and not for his playing ability.

    I find it insulting people want him to get an NBA contract just for the social implication. An NBA teams main goal is to WIN, not to make social statements.

  6. MIke says

    It was pointed out that immediately before coming out he averaged “one point per game”. It’s amazing this article would list his mediocre stats then wonder “So what’s the problem?” Well, maybe it’s team owners who value return for their buck over political correctness. Just maybe.

  7. Kevin says

    I would argue that an NBA teams main goal is to make money (which admittedly they do by making it longer in the playoff season and winning). So would gay fans go to games and buy Collins shirts?

  8. Time to retire, Mr. Collins says

    I mean, he’s not a very good basketball player. He’s basically a big body that can soak up a few minutes so someone with NBA-caliber skills can take a breather. I know I don’t want the Knicks to waste a roster spot on him . . .

    I think the timing of his coming out really does raise a question about the extent to which marketing played a role. He could have done so while still under contract (and thus whatever team had him would be stuck with him), yet decided to wait until he was a free agent with absolutely zero teams particularly interested in signing him and simultaneously declared his intent to keep playing in the NBA. It’s curious, at the very least.

  9. says

    It’s really disingenuous to insinuate that the NBA is afraid of Jason Collins sexuality.

    No matter how he plays he has become a publicity stunt. Any team that signs him gets hundreds of gay fans and lots of online support. So if they don’t play him… Remember Jeremy Lin? Imagine a team picking him up and then not playing him, PR nightmare.

    That said Nets or Knicks! COME TO NYC JASON!

  10. Zeta says

    I would argue that an NBA teams main goal is to make money (which admittedly they do by making it longer in the playoff season and winning). So would gay fans go to games and buy Collins shirts?

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 10, 2013 9:46:27 AM

    Nutshell. If he played like poo, but shirts could be sold, he’d be a ‘star’ player no matter how poorly he played. It’s not just about how good, but about the marketing.

    Get Collins an A+++ marketing team, and he could sit out a full year and still move product which would make someone a lot of money.

  11. Jerry says

    I agree with most of the above posts. I look at his stat line and think that, frankly, there’s a line of other unsigned players that would be afforded priority over Collins solely on skills. He’s just not the best available player at his position, and for the gay community to want representation for its own sake is not exactly the best decision on so many levels.

    I’d be behind his making a roster if he was, in fact, the best athlete for the job, regardless of his sexual orientation.

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