NBA free agent center Jason Collins has become a pioneer for gay professional athletes, coming out in a story with Sports Illustrated on Monday morning.
Collins signed with the Boston Celtics heading into the 2012-13 season, but was then traded to the Washington Wizards during the year as part of the deal for Jordan Crawford. Now a free agent, Collins has an interesting future — not only in terms of his NBA potential, but just simply from the headlines that his decision to come out will create. Instant reaction on social media has of course been positive and more than likely, that will be stance on things moving forward.
Collins is a gay professional athlete and that should certainly not impact his potential on continuing his NBA carer. Collins has been an average NBA player during his first 12 years in the league, but now as a free agent, what are his chances of continuing that career for a 13th season? First off, his status as a gay professional athlete should have no impact on whether or not that career will continue in 2013-14 — this is just a matter of what team can he help and could he even earn a roster spot at the age of 34.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas believes that the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban could take a chance on Collins next season.
I could see Mavs inviting Jason Collins to camp with chance to earn spot. Mark Cuban has always been progressive/supportive of gay issues.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 29, 2013
Cuban has obviously been supportive of gay issues in the past, but what does that have to do with basketball? Sure, Cuban could be in a position to invite Collins to camp, but that should be a decision based on his skill as a basketball player, not as a pioneer for gay rights.
If Cuban thinks Collins can help the Mavericks’ production and organization, then consider him, but this should be a basketball move, not one for the tabloids. Either way, we will see what teams will show interest in Collins for next season. Another year is in the books after the Wizards failed to make the playoffs, so there won’t likely be any news on this front for quite some time.
Time to sit back and enjoy the off-season.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS