By sports jersey sales alone, Jason Collins, the first openly-gay active player in the NBA is the most popular player in the league. No. 98 on the Brooklyn Nets is leading jersey sales on NBA.com, beating other NBA giants like LeBron James and Blake Griffin. And he’s easily the player with a jersey most likely to be worn by a person with no interest in the NBA.
“Jason Collins’ return to the league represents a historic moment, and fans continue to show their support by (buying) Jason’s jersey,” said NBA Senior Vice President Vicky Picca. The jersey sales definitely seem to reflect the growing support as of late for professional athletes coming out. Not too shabby for a player who, only last week, signed a 10-day contract with the Nets…meaning that in just a few days there’s a chance that the guy with the best selling jersey on the entire team, let alone the entire professional league, could be out of a job. In a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Collins went scoreless while compiling two rebounds and five personal fouls in the Nets win.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next for the 35-year-old with no real ties to the team. For now though, Collins will remain a true symbol for the gay rights movement in America, which he has been ever since coming out in an April column for Sports Illustrated magazine.