Jason Collins, who in late March of last year became the first active player in major U.S. pro sports to come out as gay, is on a short-term ten day contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Normally, that contact is so short that the NBA would not issue his jersey for sale. In this case, the NBA decided to, and on Tuesday, it became the top-seller on NBA.com, NBA Senior Vice President Vicky Picca told CNN.
That makes Collins -- who came out as gay last year when he was still unemployed -- the NBA's most popular player, at least by jersey sales.
Collins remained unemployed until last week, when he signed the ten day contract. He was unsigned at the beginning of the current season. The Nets, though, are not required to continue to employ him past the ten days.
35, Collins has never been a superstar. Instead he's been a utility player, with time in New Jersey (for the now Brooklyn Nets), Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston and Washington. He's not known as a scorer, but rather a defensive player, averaging 3.6 points per game over his 12-year career.
On Feb. 23, he played 11 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored zero points, had two rebounds, one steal, and five personal fouls. He also had two turnovers.
His no. 98 jersey is a symbol. He wears it to honor the memory of \Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was beaten to death in 1998.