February 23, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets newly signed player Jason Collins speaks to media before playing against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Collins’ No. 98 Brooklyn Nets jersey top selling jersey on NBA’s website

Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins played in his first NBA game since coming out as gay last spring after signing a 10-day contract with the club on Sunday and on Tuesday the NBA decided to make his No. 98 jersey on sale due to high demand.

He will wear No. 98 Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers to honor Matthew Shepard who was kidnapped, tortured, beaten and murdered when he was a student at the University of Wyoming in an antigay hate crime in 1998.

Shepard’s father Jason spoke to ESPN about the impact Collins and openly gay football player Michael Sam have on kids who are living ‘hidden lives.’

“Jason helps those kids go ahead and live their lives to the fullest, and take their talent in academics, in sports, wherever it can take them,” Jason Shepard said by phone Monday. “Some kids are still living hidden lives, living in fear, and the more you see Jason and Michael Sam and others encouraging them to be themselves, they’ll understand they can get to the top of whatever ladder they’re climbing.”

Matthew’s mother Judy expressed similar thoughts when she spoke to msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell, “It made me cry to know that Matt’s story still has an impact on young people–we knew it did, but for Jason to acknowledge Matt’s story and for him to come out at all at this time in his career and his life is really pretty amazing,” Judy Shepard told msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Pretty incredible the type of impact that professional athletes can have on people in such a short amount of time. Here’s to hoping Collins is signed by the Nets for the rest of the season and plenty more No. 98 jerseys are worn across the country and people understand the significance behind the number.

Tags: Brooklyn Nets Jason Collins NBA

  • Real M-Fing talk !!!

    I guess i was wrong, this had “nothing” to do with a gay agenda, this was strictly a basketball move for the Nets… i do not know what is worse, animal wing nuts, religious nut jobs or gay crusaders.

    I am sure a few players have issues with Collins walking into their locker room head held high as an openly gay men as some form of victory, when 95 + percent of that room is straight. Those who would question this cannot speak up in fear of the backlash. This is not the norm, people should not be pushed into quietly accepting it. I am sure if Collins teammate’s found out in house, Collins is gay, it would sit better with them, rather than Collins announcing to the world, this is who i am, then being forced on a group of players with this ground swell of support from the gay community, and others with hidden agendas following him.

    Too often media members justify this by saying, its no different from going to the local gym with gay men, No, its not, first you only go to the gym a few times, second it’s not intimate, like a pro locker room, third how many of those men are opening gay and fourth how many of those men have a large following, frankly certain media members needs to shut up if they can’t speak truthfully…

    Why are people ignoring the main issue that gay men are sexually attracted to other men… that is where the problem lies , it’s not about Collins the person……
    this is not like a WNBA locker room you cant compare the mentality and the physical nature of men and women…. Why do we have women only gyms, so it’s ok for women to have private gyms but it not ok for men to feel uncomfortable around openly gay men without it being a hate crime….

    The media is the biggest hypocrite… They crush players for being “me guys”, selfish teammates, making it all about themselves and not the team…. i even heard members of the media used the word “cancer” to describe players for being a distraction So i ask you, what does that make Collins and Sams, if they are not making it about themselves and their agenda…. what are they making it about? One thing i know it’s not about team

  • cfishy

    I bought a hundred bucks worth of NY Nets stuff including his jersey before he stepped on the court! Because I want to spend my gay money however I damn please. So whine all you want, bigots. NBA is business.

    • Real M-Fing talk !!!

      that’s the problem right there !… a lot of gay Money and resources, having people fooled into thinking the gay lifestyle is normal, when it’s nothing more than a form of perversion and or mental illness