When Jason Collins suits up tonight for the Brooklyn Nets, the first openly gay athlete active in the big four professional men’s team sports will put on a black-and-white jersey. But to the NBA, it may look green.
Even though Collins, a journeyman center-forward, was only signed to a 10-day contract, the league has taken the unusual step of making his No. 98 jersey available for sale.
The jerseys went on sale at NBAStore.com and the NBA Store in Manhattan after the league received hundreds of inquiries both online and at the store, a league spokesman told ESPN.
The Nets aren’t expecting big numbers from Collins, a hard-nosed defensive player who has career averages of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, but the league seems to see a chance to score.
For his part, Collins has something to say with his jersey, too. He chose No. 98 to commemorate Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998.