Jason Collins: 22 G, 1 GS, 7.8 MPG, 1.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 0.36 SPG, 0.05 BPG, .458 FG% .000 3P%, .750 FT%, 4.12 PER, -0.6 EWA
If you don’t like this grade, you’ve got a point. Jason Collins is not very good at basketball. He didn’t really meet, exceed, or fail to reach expectations. He just kind of sat at the end of the bench and spoke in tones jovial, nasal, and bored all at once at a few press conferences. He filled an on-court role that’s arguably the most replaceable in the NBA.
Collins played all of 172 minutes in a Brooklyn Nets uniform. He scored 25 points. He was signed precisely to do the little things, which is exactly what he did. He did no big things on the court, unless you count hitting a 22-footer as a big thing.
In his first three seconds on the floor at home, he committed a shooting foul. He was perfectly Jason Collins, with no weapon other than brute force and nearly 15 years of NBA experience.
The team wants us to believe the Collins signing was a basketball move. It probably wasn’t. He didn’t play any minutes in the playoffs. But in 40 years, the Brooklyn Nets will be in history textbooks for signing the first openly gay male athlete ever in one of the major four professional U.S. sports. He cleared the way for Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon, two college athletes who have come out since Collins’s declaration.
He only started one game, but more importantly, he started a conversation. Jason Collins will probably never play professional basketball again and has made world history.
In this ridiculous, down-and-up-and-down season, it’s almost easy to forget that Jason Collins changed the scope of professional sports forever. That’s enough to earn an A+ in my book.
Must-read: So what if Jason Collins is a PR move?