After making history last season as the NBA’s first active openly gay player, Jason Collins is likely through with playing professional basketball, writes Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group. In front of a crowd of ~600 people on Monday night at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, the 35-year-old acknowledged that, athletically, his best years are probably behind him.
“I used to be able to jump and touch the top of the white square behind the rim with ease,” Collins said. “As the years go by, you watch your hand go lower and lower on that square. Father Time is undefeated against us all. … I’m really grateful for my Stanford degree now. On the other hand, I can still dunk.”
Collins began his career with the Nets and experienced success right from the get go, helping New Jersey to back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in his first two seasons. The big man would start 404 regular season games for the Nets in six-and-a-half seasons and also cashed in on a very lucrative second contract with the club. In total, Collins has earned upwards of $34MM over the course of his career (according to Basketball-Reference) and has appeared in 95 playoff games.
In his stint last season with Brooklyn, Collins averaged 1.1 PPG and 0.9 RPG across 22 late season games. Even though Collins was a consummate teammate and a quality low-post defender during his NBA career, his legacy will extend far beyond what he accomplished on the hardwood.