Found April 29, 2013 on
Fox Sports South:
ATLANTA Larry Drew coached Jason Collins for three seasons with the Hawks, two when Drew was an assistant and another as the head coach. One of those years, Collins was instrumental with his defense on Dwight Howard in helping Atlanta advance past the Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Drew also had Collins earlier in his career when he was an assistant in New Jersey.
But Drew had no idea what was coming when he received a phone call from Collins on Tuesday morning. Collins left a message, not informing Drew of his intent, but it wasnt long before Drew learned that Collins had come out as the first active gay athlete in a North American professional sports league.
Drew missed the call. It came during the Hawks shootaround before Game 4 of their first-round series with Indiana but he called Collins back leaving a message in return -- and told Collins how proud he was of him.
First of all, Im very, very proud of Jason, the fact that he had the courage to come forth, to express himself for who he was, Drew said. That takes a lot of courage. When youre a person whos been in the limelight, as he has been, and hes done such a phenomenal job as a ball player. He is just such a great guy, an unbelievable person, a phenomenal teammate and I underline that because he was a guy that did everything coach always wanted him to do. Never complained. He always played hard. Knew what his limitations were on the floor. Stayed with his strengths. Just a phenomenal guy.
When I got the news today I was very proud of him. The fact that he had the courage to come out and express himself. And reading some of his quotes, you can clearly hear in his message that he feels free now. It was a burden for a long time just to keep it kind of quiet. Now that he has expressed himself you can hear that he seems very free from it.
Forward Josh Smith was a teammate of Collins for those three seasons in Atlanta. Smith spoke eloquently less than 90 minutes before game time about whether NBA players would be accepting of having a gay teammate in their midst in the locker room.
To be honest, I think that this is a business, Smith said. In each and every business, everybody is not the same. You cant ask for nobody to be the same as you or the next person. You just have to accept them for who they are. People who arent confident with their own sexuality, I think it might bother them. For a person who understands and respects the decision and respects the human being and as long as theres always a professional atmosphere, I dont think it should be a problem.
Drew reinforced that message when it came to whether the 7-footer, who turns 35 in December, might receive a contract offer going forward.
Hopefully, were at a point where we can accept people for who they are, he said, noting he was behind Collins 110 percent. Look at the individual. Again, if he can help me win ball games, I certainly would not rule him out, but, again, hes 34, 35 so hes moving up in age a little bit. But hopefully as a society we can accept people for who they are and we can look past things, particularly if that person, if hes a guy who can still produce out on the basketball floor. If he is still productive if you put him in a game, certainly, I dont see a reason why he shouldnt be able to continue his career.
Smith said that Collins could be a role model for other players who are struggling with the same decision as Collins made.
I definitely commend on him on making the decision he made, Smith said. Now he can live his life comfortably and not worry about what the public eye, the feelings they have about the situation and I think that whoever it is that is uncomfortable coming out, I think they should look at Big Jason and have that confidence. I respect it 100 percent.
Smith said that he had no inkling about Collins sexuality. It was pointed out to him that Collins only told his twin brother Jarron last summer.
Not that I know of, Smith said. Everybody has their own time to do everything. Now is his moment.
Smith also said he thought the Stanford-educated Collins would be a good spokesman for gay athletes.
Hes definitely a well spoken human being, Smith said. Like I say, hes been the ultimate professional and hes been a great teammate so I think hes definitely handled it well. I think its definitely good to hear positive reinforcement from the people hes played with, with sincerity, not really sugar-coating anything. I really appreciate and respect what he did.
BEST OF MAXIM
Boston Celtics players are voicing support for Jason Collins.
The Celtics practiced for the first time Tuesday since their former teammate said he was gay on Sports Illustrated's website Monday.
Kevin Garnett says he's happy Collins can be himself. Jason Terry says it seems like a tremendous weight has been lifted from Collins. And Jeff Green called him an ''awesome...
photo via Kwaku Alston/SI
So, yesterday it happened. A male athlete, Jason Collins, of a major American professional sport announced that he’s gay in a cover story for Sports Illustrated. The reactions have been pouring in nonstop. Here’s my obligatory response.
Honestly, it bothers me that this is a thing. That gay athletes feel they must hide who they are from the world...
Don MacLean thinks Jason Collins is 'courageous' for announcing he is gay while still playing in the NBA.
MacLean, who works on the Clippers' pre-and post-game shows for FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket, played in the NBA from 1992-2001 and was named the league's Most Improved Player in 1994 while with the Washington Bullets.
"I know he did it for personal...
Former Celtics center Jason Collins‘ announcement Monday morning that he is gay has been met with overwhelming support, with everyone from his fellow NBA players to former President Bill Clinton to average fans taking to social media to give Collins words of encouragement.
Collins, who is currently a free agent, chronicled his decision to come out in a column that was published...
Jason Collins is America’s first openly gay athlete in a major male team sport. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)Effective today as of when the online edition of Sports Illustrated went live, the major male American team sports finally have one openly gay player. Jason Collins, a 12-year veteran of the NBA, published a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated in which...
ATLANTA The enigma that is Josh Smith could have been playing his final game at Philips Arena as a member of the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of this first-round playoff series.
A pending unrestricted free agent a few months from now, Smith played in a way that ensured that he would suit up for at least one more game in the city in which he is a native and where he has played all of...
Josh Smith scored 29 points as the Atlanta Hawks built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even the series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4 on Monday night.
After struggling much of the second half, Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by...
Doc has always been extremely supportive of Jason Collins. On several occasions he referred to him as a great locker room presence and he even put him in the starting lineup at one point.
It's possible that Doc already knew the news we all learned about Collins today. Either way, he certainly liked what he brought to the locker room and somehow he might have also been possibly...
The star of recently announced gay athlete Jason Collins just continues to grow. Now, it appears he is set to really go prime time. Collins reflects on the worldwide reaction following his decision to reveal that he is a gay man and how he hopes his story will further the conversation around equality. Oprah and [...]
Jason Collins received largely positive support in the aftermath of his announcement that he is gay.
Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Kenneth Faried and Rudy Gay were amongst the dozens of players to publicly offer their support to Collins.
Collins also received encouragement on Twitter from Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Martina Navratilova and Spike...
Jason, no need to give Tristan a facial.
So we finally got our first active professional athlete to come out of the closet. Jason Collins gets the distinction of that. Good for him. Hopefully, he can spawn others to do what Mike Piazza never could. So far, the majority of the reactions to this news have been very positive (at least according to him) which is good to hear. As far...
HOW YOU REMIND ME...
Tweet One of the more major announcements in the world of professional sports happened yesterday when SI released their cover story with Jason Collins becoming the first active athlete to come out as gay in professional sports. This sparked a mostly positive reaction for Collins’ courageous act from athletes across all sports. However, no one [...]
I would take credit for pointing out days ago this would happen, but it should have been so clear to anyone who uses their brain, so it wasn’t like I was going out on a limb.
These networks, media and entertainment sites could care less about Jason Collins is gay, all they see are dollar signs and ratings. They are going to milk this until every cow is begging for mercy. Collins...
NBA center Jason Collins announced Monday in a story for Sports Illustrated that he’s gay, becoming the first active player in a major American team sport to announce that he is gay.
In the wake of Jason Collins announcing to the world that he’s gay, everyone in the media business is scrambling to get the reaction of any and every athlete they come in contact with.Erik Kuselia is part of the media business and when former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward joined him on NBC Sports radio, Kuselia followed suit and asked about his reaction to Collins’...