OKC Thunder: Thunder players say Jason Collins should be accepted by Brooklyn teammates

Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with the Nets, is the first openly gay active player in the four major North American team sports.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 23, 2014
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photo - Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins speaks during a news conference prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets earlier Sunday and was to be in uniform for their game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The 35-year-old center revealed at the end of last season he is gay, but he was a free agent and had remained unsigned. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins speaks during a news conference prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets earlier Sunday and was to be in uniform for their game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The 35-year-old center revealed at the end of last season he is gay, but he was a free agent and had remained unsigned. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The three biggest leaders in the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room voiced support on Sunday for Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay active player in the four major North American team sports after signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Kevin Durant chose to look at him as a basketball player.

Russell Westbrook viewed him as a hard worker.

Derek Fisher reminded that he's a person.

“My opinion is not unbiased,” Fisher said. “I played with Jason's brother, Jaron, in Utah. I know his family, his mom and dad, his sister-in-law. And they're some of the greatest people you'll ever meet.”

Fisher noted that Collins' signing came in the middle of Black History Month, becoming a fitting testament to all that the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.

“Judging people on the content of their character and not the color of their skin or their sexual orientation or ethnicity, their background, where they're from, where they live,” Fisher said. “That's more so what I'm focused on.”

Collins, 35, has played 14 seasons with six NBA teams. The former 18th overall pick out of Stanford holds career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 713 games. He split last season with Boston and Washington, appearing in 38 games, before coming out in a cover story by Sports Illustrated last May.

“I just think about basketball,” Durant said. “He's a physical, physical center that plays his tail off for his team. And that's all we should be worried about is just how he plays basketball ... He's been looking for his chance to get in the league and now he's back.”

Asked if he thinks NBA players will accept Collins, Durant said yes.

“I think so,” Durant said. “From what I've heard from all the guys that know him, great teammate, put his body on the line for the team. I can roll with anybody like that.”

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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