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Jason Collins signs a 10 day contract with Brooklyn Nets
February 24, 2014 7:22 AM   Subscribe

He played last night in a 108-102 win against the LA Lakers. After a 10 month hiatus from playing in the NBA, Collins became the first openly gay athlete to compete in any of the US's 4 major team sports.

Collins' line:

11 minutes played; 0 points on 1 shot attempt; 2 rebounds; 1 steal; 5 fouls.

After the 10 day contract ends (NY Times), the Nets may resign him to another 10 day contract, sign him for the rest of the season, or let him walk.

"The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision... We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract." -- Nets GM Billy King

Analysis from Bleacher Report.

(Previously)
posted by Groundhog Week (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I feel somewhat bad for this guy as there is all this insane hype and it's likely he'll just be on the team for a few days. That said, the Nets seem to have handled this in a somewhat classy way so bravo for them.
posted by selfnoise at 7:26 AM on February 24


Teams in The U.S.'s four major sports leagues are currently undefeated when their rosters include at least one openly gay player.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:29 AM on February 24 [42 favorites]


Is a ten-day contract a common thing? That seems like a remarkably short duration.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 AM on February 24


Very common -- they're laid out in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement for just this sort of thing.
posted by Etrigan at 7:38 AM on February 24


A 10-day contract isn't terribly uncommon, especially for an older player with limited skills like Collins, late in the season. A team with some injuries will often sign a guy for a couple weeks, see if he can contribute, and sign him for the rest of the year if he's any good and they still need him.
posted by moviehawk at 7:39 AM on February 24


General background information on the 10-day contract: What is a 10-day contract? (in this extensive Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ), and the New York Times article, which opens with this paragraph:
The N.B.A. is known for its guaranteed contracts, which stand in stark contrast to the free-for-all in the N.F.L., where a player can generally be terminated anytime. An exception in basketball is the 10-day contract, which serves as a risk-free, on-the-job tryout for a player attempting to make a team’s roster.
This lazy Google search makes it seem that the 10-day contract isn't too rare, as there are a good number of results from the last few days that don't mention Collins.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 AM on February 24


That line is about as Collins like as it gets.
posted by aerotive at 7:44 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I've been looking for a rooting interest for the rest of the NBA season now that the Wolves are fully cooked; was leaning towards the Nets, and this ices it.
posted by COBRA! at 7:44 AM on February 24


That line is about as Collins like as it gets.

Also that he was +8 (yeah yeah yeah I know single-game +/- is mostly crap, but even so)
posted by dsfan at 7:47 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the line -- in particular, 5 fouls seems like a hella pile of them. But is that just the nature of his role on the court or is a sign that he was having a rough return to the court?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:48 AM on February 24


Is it wrong of me to feel like this is a cynical ploy by the NBA to scoop the NFL (previously) as the first major pro ball league to field an openly gay player? Which would be a weird thing to do, but it's a relatively cheap and risk-free way to go down in the books as being on the right side of history.
posted by ardgedee at 7:51 AM on February 24


The fouls are pretty much what he was on the floor for particularly against a team that isn't great on free throws.
posted by srboisvert at 7:51 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I didn't see the game, but the commentary on his on-court performance has generally been "mediocre on offense, did his job on defense," so I assume those fouls were part of the game plan.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:52 AM on February 24


Is it wrong of me to feel like this is a cynical ploy by the NBA to scoop the NFL (previously) as the first major pro ball league to field an openly gay player? Which would be a weird thing to do, but it's a relatively cheap and risk-free way to go down in the books as being on the right side of history.

You could go even further and feel like this was Jason Kidd's way to get back in the good graces of the NBA after his "hit me" incident where the Nets were out of time outs and he got his drink spilled on the court to essentially get one.

But really, Jason Collins came out before Michael Sam did, and this is around the time of year where guys get picked up, so it seems fine to me.
posted by cashman at 7:54 AM on February 24


I'm happy that I'm living now. I know things are far from perfect but they're better than when I was born.
posted by rdr at 7:57 AM on February 24 [6 favorites]


Or you could say that this is a cynical ploy by Prokhorov (who ran in the 2012 presidential election, and has sharply criticized Russia's anti-gay laws) to raise the proverbial finger at Putin.

More likely, though, the Nets are stocked with mature people who have played with Jason (or his twin-- including Kirilenko, who Amaechi cited as one of his two straight allies while in the NBA!), Brook Lopez got hurt, and Big Baby chose the Clippers.

I feel somewhat bad for this guy as there is all this insane hype and it's likely he'll just be on the team for a few days. That said, the Nets seem to have handled this in a somewhat classy way so bravo for them.

Why, what have you heard? Everything I've read indicates that if he plays as expected, he'll be signed for the full season. It's not like Brook Lopez is coming back this season.
posted by acidic at 8:02 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


So the color line in baseball and the sexuality line in basketball were both broken in Brooklyn? Nice.
posted by grubi at 8:08 AM on February 24 [9 favorites]


I'm curious about the line -- in particular, 5 fouls seems like a hella pile of them.

Well, yes, but that's the point. Fouling in the NBA is a strategy, not an accident, because when you foul, you're typically doing it to prevent the other team from getting a bucket. Instead of getting their almost-certain two points (because smart players only foul when that shot is definitely going to go in), the fouled player shoots two free throws, which in the best case scenario for the other team is two consecutive 85% chances to shoot a single point - and plenty of players shoot way less than 85% on free throws. The league average is about 75%. Which means that generally a foul changes the situation from "99.9% chance at two points" to "56% chance at two points." Which makes a difference.

The point of a player like Collins is twofold: he's a good post defender and rim protector, so he can defend the net without having to necessarily foul. But if a foul is necessary, he's the guy you want taking the fouls, because he has no offense to speak of, hasn't had it for years, so if he fouls out it's not a terrible loss; better him fouling out than Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce (even if Garnett and Pierce are not who they once were on the court).
posted by mightygodking at 8:10 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


ardgedee: Is it wrong of me to feel like this is a cynical ploy by the NBA to scoop the NFL (previously) as the first major pro ball league to field an openly gay player? Which would be a weird thing to do, but it's a relatively cheap and risk-free way to go down in the books as being on the right side of history.

I don't think "being on the right side of history" was the goal. If you want to be cynical, look at the positive press coverage they're getting right now.

Before Collins was signed, some thought the NHL would be the first to sign an openly gay player.

Anyway, The Galaxy were the first (second tier) major team sport to sign an openly gay player, Robbie Rogers.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 AM on February 24


I watched a good portion of Collins' minutes last night. A few of the fouls I saw him get were from guys who got too deep in the paint. So they had good position by the time he got to them (not his fault) and at that point if you do anything but back off, you're going to get called for a foul. I remember one of them was just a straight up hug to prevent a shot at all, but others were him playing some defense but once you're backed down that far in the paint, there aren't many options.

He said in the press conference afterward that he didn't feel tired and was happy with his conditioning but a couple of trips up and down the floor he was a bit behind. But that's just catching up with NBA game speed I guess.

For those who didn't watch, the Nets jumped out to a huge lead early before Collins got playing time. It was something like 31-19 pretty quick.
posted by cashman at 8:25 AM on February 24


Well, yes, but that's the point. Fouling in the NBA is a strategy, not an accident, because when you foul, you're typically doing it to prevent the other team from getting a bucket.

Thanks. I thought it might be deliberate, because 5 is so tantalizingly close to fouling out without fouling out, but I'm not really all that knowledgeable about basketball, so I was wondering how much of it was strategy and how much was just being out of step with the game. I did know that teams often used fouls to stop the clock late in the game, but I wasn't sure about how much they used them mid-game for defensive reasons.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:37 AM on February 24


Furthermore, the centers Collins plays against are usually the worst free throw shooters on a team, often shooting 60-70%. Which is odd because they're closer to the basket, but line drive shots don't work as well as ones with arc.

I'm fine with this. Jackie Robinson was a wonderful hero-slaying-the-dragon story, but assuming the goal is for sexuality to become a non-issue, this is perfect. Collins comes out, at 35 when he's marginal anyway. He doesn't get picked up but then Michael Sam comes out. The Collins comes in on a 10-day and plays the way he always has, no difference. Business as usual, no "locker room problems." Now if anybody flips out in the future, HE'S the weirdo, not the gay player. And Collins took a lot of pressure off of Michael Sam at a key moment.

If Collins never came out, him not getting picked up after last year, then coming in now on a 10-day contract would not have surprised anybody.
posted by msalt at 9:20 AM on February 24


Ctrl F, "publicity" = 0 of 0

Nice
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:21 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


You can sign two 10-day contracts before a team has to decide whether they sign you for the rest of the year, and these are relatively common mid-season for players who were on the fringe around the preseason. So this isn't some obscure thing which would lend itself to a publicity stunt, especially considering the Nets were publicly interested in Glen "Big Baby" Davis for the same roster spot/role until he chose the Clippers.

Collins signing for 10 days probably means one of two things (the Celtics recently worked him out as well) - one, it's the time of the year where players are traded, waived and/or released and tying yourself to a player like Collins who has a very defined talent ceiling isn't leaving yourself a ton of flexibility to sign a suddenly available better player. Two, in shape and game ready are two different things and the latter isn't guaranteed just because you've been working out. Like Collins himself admitted, after a couple of trips down the court he was behind the play - if that doesn't go away quickly, he might get released.
posted by rutabega at 9:36 AM on February 24


If not exactly "intentional," getting a lot of fouls is more or less the job of a backup big man. People who play around the basket are going to have to foul or else allow easy points, and since Collins knows he won't be on the floor that long anyway, and that he isn't particularly necessary on offense, he's free to go nuts.

As for it being a "ploy," there's no evidence of that whatsoever. The Nets signed him because they needed someone and they already knew him as a solid player. He premiered in a game seen by almost no one except fans of the two rather bad teams in question.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:36 AM on February 24


on the Celtics he was really good about taking charges and making smart fouls. He knows he's not some athletic superstar, so he just does his job as a role player and does the little things that need to be done. I know Pierce, Garnett and Doc really liked him, Kidd (Nets head coach) and he were teammates for quite a while, so seems like it could be a really good fit.
posted by young_son at 2:06 PM on February 24


Exactly. Gay or not, he's still 7'0" tall and a skilled defender. He's only scored 3.6 points a game over 15 years, so people know what they're getting. That's what I like here -- he's not overcoming anything through massive talent. He's a smart journeyman continuing to play his role, and who he sleeps with isn't changing anything.
posted by msalt at 3:22 PM on February 24


Wow, I stand corrected...

Jason Collins is not the first openly gay athlete in the 4 major US team sports. Glenn Burke was.

He also invented the high-five with Dusty Baker in 1977.
posted by Groundhog Week at 8:46 AM on February 25


NBA to sell Jason Collins Nets jerseys due to unprecedented demand.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:46 AM on February 25


It's a nice touch that he chose #98 as a tribute to Matthew Shephard, who was murdered in 1998
posted by msalt at 11:48 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Jason Collins is not the first openly gay athlete in the 4 major US team sports. Glenn Burke was.

Burke was the first to come out (after retirement) and say that he had been out to his teammates. There have been similar cases in the NFL. Collins is the first to come out to the general public before his retirement.
posted by Etrigan at 12:22 PM on February 25


A few more reactions from the former Free Darko crowd:

Kelly Dwyer takes on the "Why is this news?" brigade

Bethlehem Shoals compares Collins to Michael Sam and considers why the NBA was the first major league to have an openly gay player

David Roth talks about why it's great that Jason Collins had a boring game
posted by Copronymus at 9:41 PM on February 25


Jason Collins' No. 98 Nets jersey the top-seller on NBA.com
posted by bukvich at 6:01 AM on February 26


Thanks for explaining how midseason contracts work, you all. This is what I love Metafilter for: Sometimes proving that real life rises above the cynical assumptions about it.
posted by ardgedee at 7:27 AM on February 26


NBA to donate proceeds from Jason Collins jersey sales to Matthew Shepard Foundation, GLSEN. They've stated it'll be at least $100k.

Nets' Jason Collins meets with parents of Matthew Shepard; hopes wearing No. 98 inspires.

Collins' ten-day contract expires on Wednesday. He can be signed for a second ten-day contract. After that, the Nets either have to sign him for the rest of the season or drop him.
posted by Georgina at 2:12 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Brooklyn Nets to Sign Jason Collins for Remainder of Season

Of course, by this point, even while the original Metafilter thread is still open, the mainstream media just barely cares about this story at all, so any thoughts of "media frenzy causing distraction" has been proven ridiculous.

(Also the Nets are 7 of 8 since signing him, which probably doesn't hurt.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:43 AM on March 12


Yeah but didn't you notice that the family and Church collapsed?

In related news, Brooklyn Nets Insist They Only See Jason Collins As Terrible Player
posted by msalt at 12:32 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


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