Male Gaze: Jason Collins, the First Openly Gay NBA Player

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Jason Collins #46 of the Brooklyn Nets warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on February 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Yesterday, the Brooklyn Nets signed a ten-day contract with Jason Collins, a 35-year-old, 7-foot-tall Los Angeles native and Stanford graduate who is now officially the first openly gay NBA player in history. Formerly of the Washington Wizards, Collins hasn’t played professionally since he came out in a Sports Illustrated cover story last May, after the 2013 season had concluded. Last night, Collins returned to the Nets (he played for the then–New Jersey team from 2001 through 2008) and was met with applause as he emerged on the court to join the team in their defeat of the Lakers, 108–102. Though last night he wore a No. 46 jersey, the only one the team had available, he’s said that he plans to wear No. 98 in the future — a reference to the year that Matthew Shepard was murdered.