GAY DEBUT: Jason Collins became the first openly gay professional playing in major league US sport (PA)
AMERICAN BASKETBALL star Jason Collins has become the first openly gay professional athlete in US sports leagues after making his Brooklyn Nets debut against LA Lakers.
The Brooklyn Nets player came out as gay last April but since then had not played in the NBA, but that all changed over the weekend as Collins made his debut and received a warm welcome from the crowd as he helped his team win.
Collins, who failed to grab any points during the 11 minutes he was on the court, spoke about how he was received by the fans.
He said: “I thought it was great. Being an LA kid, I can't think of a better situation, playing for the Nets and playing here and getting the win. Just glad Kobe [Bryant] and Shaq [O'Neal] weren't out there.
“The most important thing is the team got the win. I don't care about scoring. I care about my team winning.
“For me, the pressure is playing in an NBA game tonight and last time I played in an NBA game was last April. So I think that's enough pressure right there.”
The Nets win meant they ended their 11-game losing streak, and Collins, who recently signed for the Nets on a short-term deal, helped out by contributing two rebounds and one steal as his side ended the evening with a 108-102 victory.