The Celtics gathered today in Waltham for their final practice before Game 5 of their first round series. While there was plenty of talk about the C’s 3-1 series deficit, the main subject of the day was Jason Collins’ coming out yesterday in a Sports Illustrated article. For the first time since the announcement, Celtics players were able to weigh in and issues words of support for their former veteran teammate. Here are their words, unfiltered.
Kevin Garnett on Collins: “I’m just happy for him, being able to be himself. Everyone’s personal lives is their personal livers and their personal preferences is just that. We’re here to support everything he’s doing. I’m just happy for him, that he can be himself.”
KG on whether he thought he would see the day NBA player would come out: “Never really gave it much thought to be honest. People’s personal preferences have nothing to do with my own.”
Jason Terry on Jason Collins coming out: “Happy for him. It looks like he’s had a tremendous weight lifted off of him. That’s all you can ask for, for any man or woman to be at peace with themselves. Then you can find that ultimate happiness. Being a teammate of his, I know how hard he works, how dedicated he was to his craft. He was a great teammate, regardless of his sexual preferences. It didn’t matter to me. I liked him as a guy, as a teammate and I still do.”
Collins actually reached out to Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers days before he decided to come out.
Pierce tells how Collins came out to him: “I had a chance to talk to Jason before the news even broke. The crazy thing about it is that it’s something I had mentioend to Doc that it was going to happen, there was going to be a gay player in pro sports to come out. It just so happens he seems to be first and i was one of his teammates, but to each his own. It’s probably going to open the door to many more. There’s so many pro athletes and human beings that live a dark life, that’s scared to expose it, because of the exposure of sports and what people may think about it. I think he did a great thing though, to open the door for a number of athletes, who will now have the courage to come out.”
Jeff Green on Collins: ”I was happy for him. He’s a great friend of mine. He’s a good teammate.”
Doc Rivers on Collins: “We had talked about it recently. When he called me to tell me, you could tell he wanted to tell me. I told him before he said it, ‘Jason I could care less about what you’re about to tell me.’ And that’s how I feel. I honestly feel that way. It’s a non-factor to me, and I know it is a factor to a lot of people. I’ve never understood why anyone cares what someone else does. And I told Jason that it will be a non-issue eventually, but it will not be right now.”