The NBA’s First Openly Gay Play, Jason Collins, Most Popular; His No. 98 Nets Jersey Top Seller
The ink isn’t even dry on Jason Collins’ new contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but his jersey is selling like there’s no tomorrow. No. 98, to be worn by Collins, the first openly gay, active player in the United States’ four big sports leagues, is the hottest selling jersey on the market. This makes Collins the NBA’s most popular player by jersey sales, reports CNN. Collins says he selected 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student murdered in 1998.
While some are excited by the news, others suggest Collins “was profiting because he is gay….Some questioned why Collins was being held out as an icon while, in their view, athletes who publicly profess their Christianity are criticized,” reports CNN. Those complaining point out that Collins is not considered a star player by any means.
Collins, 35, has had a varied career–having played for New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston and Washington during is 12 years as an NBA player. Collins’ contract with the Brooklyn Nets is just for 10 days, though it is speculated he will be signed on for the remained of the season.
“Jason Collins’ return to the league represents a historic moment, and fans continue to show their support by (buying) Jason’s jersey,” said Picca.
According to NBA Senior Vice President Vicky Picca, Collins’ No. 98 Brooklyn Nets uniform is the top-seller on NBA.com, beating out LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.