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)

Westbrook knows Collins. The two worked out together in past offseasons in Los Angeles.

“Jason's a good guy,” Westbrook said. “I know him personally … Jason's been a player in this league for numerous years, and regardless of what he does off the floor he comes to work every day and does his job.”

Fisher said that's what teammates are likely to focus most on, Collins' performance.

“Whether people choose to treat him differently because of his orientation,” Fisher said, “the guys in his locker room will ultimately judge him based on how he can help the team win basketball games and what kind of teammate he is.”

Current Nets players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were teammates of Collins with Boston last year. Fisher said those previously existing relationships should help.

“I don't think they'll be surprised at just how great of a person he is and how great of a teammate he'll be,” Fisher said.

It's those who are on the outside world that Fisher isn't so sure about.

“In my opinion, it won't change his experience within his team, within the league,” Fisher said. “Whether fans or other people outside of our business choose to treat him differently, I can't say. But like I said, many of his teammates he's been on teams with before. He's been on multiple teams. He's been in and out of multiple locker rooms. And so I think guys know him for who he is as a person and really won't be concerned with the news of how he chooses to live.”

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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