The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 30, 2013

NBA journeyman comes out

NORMAN — Jason Collins nearly got Rick Welts into $200 worth of trouble.

Welts is the president of the Golden State Warriors, and is gay. And a short while before the news broke Monday that Collins would become the first active player from one of the four U.S. major pro sports leagues to come out, someone called Welts to give him a heads-up about the pending announcement.

Small problem: Welts was driving, and not using a hands-free device that California law dictates. He got pulled over but, Welts said, was let out of the costly ticket after telling his story to the California Highway Patrol officer.

“Thanks, Jason,” Welts said afterward.

Collins was thanked and applauded by virtually all sides of the sports world Monday when the first-person account of his life was published by Sports Illustrated.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke of Collins’ courage, tennis great Martina Navratilova called him a pioneer, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers compared him to Jackie Robinson.

Perhaps no one was more succinct than Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash, who simply tweeted, “The time has come.”

Support freely flowed Collins’ way, mainly through social media, with players from all four major sports reaching out to offer congratulations, support or both. Even the entertainment world reacted, with actor Neil Patrick Harris, who came out in 2006, thanking Collins.

“Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that’s saying a lot,” Harris wrote.

Collins will be a free agent this summer. However, after averaging a mere 1.1 points in 38 games for the Celtics and Washington Wizards this season — and after scoring 10 points just one time since Jan. 2, 2008 — it remains to be seen what sort of interest the 34-year-old center will generate from clubs.

“He exemplifies everything we look for in players,” said Billy King, the general manager of the Nets franchise that Collins spent his first 61⁄2 seasons with when the team was in New Jersey.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Popovich wins Coach of the Year

    The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Tony Allen’s hounding defense a challenge, even for Durant

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant is tired of hearing about Tony Allen’s defense....

    April 23, 2014

  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career

    WASHINGTON — Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry....

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers seek change in MLB Cuban player policy

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida lawmakers motivated by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s dangerous escape from Cuba are trying to change the way Major League Baseball treats Cuban players and are willing to tie state money for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Physical stars ruffling Ducks’ feathers

    DALLAS — Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked about the Dallas Stars trying to get under his skin or into his head with their physical play in Game 3. “Trying to hit my head how about?” the already stitched-up and visor-protected ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Pacers need statement game to stay afloat in series with Hawks

    INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s next game is the most important of the season. If the top-seeded Pacers can’t protect their home court Tuesday night, they’ll be down 2-0 heading to Atlanta — where they have only won twice since December 2006....

    April 22, 2014

  • Dwyane Wade looks like his old self, again

    MIAMI — Dwyane Wade is not planning on missing any more games this season, and that means life on the Miami Heat equipment room staff is going to get considerably more demanding....

    April 22, 2014

  • American wins first Boston Marathon after bombing

    BOSTON — “The Star-Spangled Banner” played over Boylston Street in honor of an American winner of the Boston Marathon....

    April 22, 2014

  • St. Louis falls again

    NEW YORK — Jenrry Mejia pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning, David Wright delivered another key hit and the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Monday night....

    April 22, 2014

  • Portland’s Aldridge primed for Game 2

    HOUSTON — A day after etching his name in Portland’s record books with a franchise playoff-record 46 points in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Houston, LaMarcus Aldridge was already looking forward....

    April 22, 2014

Video
Facebook