We hope he enjoyed all the parties and congratulatory phone calls from Obama and company. None of it matters since he can’t play any more. But the New York Times, which obsesses over the gay agenda, hints there’s some so-called homophobia at work, not lack of talent.
Since making the announcement last spring that he is a gay professional basketball player, Jason Collins has been widely praised, received much support and made many new friends. But with training camp for a new season under way, he has been waiting for a call from an N.B.A. team. Any N.B.A. team.
When Collins, 34, a 7-foot center, wrote his coming-out cover story for Sports Illustrated — “my declaration,” he said — he proudly spoke of having been called a pro’s pro for his team-first, lunch-pail style. Never a star, he has nonetheless had a career spanning 12 years and 6 teams after four years at Stanford, where he played with his twin, Jarron.
“That’s how I still consider myself,” he said Wednesday in his first interview since N.B.A. training camps opened last month without his participation. “Sure, I’ve picked up another title. But I feel that’s always who I’m going to be — that person who sets a good example, who represents the sport and is an asset to my team and a role model for other players.”
The question Collins has to ponder is why he has not been signed as a free agent. Is it because he is at best a marginal player with modest career statistics (3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds a game) nearing the end of his career, one who would cost more than a younger player based on the league’s collectively bargained pay scale? Or is there something more sinister at work related to the new role he would play?
Here’s how it works: If you’re 34 and your best years are behind you, chances are teams will instead sign younger players to fill backup roles. That upside is they might get lucky and discover a gem at the same price. Everyone in the NBA knows Collins is a marginal player, at best. His not being signed yet isn’t because he’s gay. It’s because he can’t play at the same level he did a decade ago. Nobody even realized he was still in the league last year until he let the world know he’s gay. Bottom line is, nobody cares he’s gay except for the folks who want to use his as a political prop.