When Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on February 23, he became the first active openly gay athlete in any of North America’s four major professional sports.
Since then, Collins’ No. 98 Brookly Nets jersey has become the best-seller at the NBA’s online store. The league will donate all proceeds from these sales – a minimum of $100,000 (£60,000) – to the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Shepard, an American student at the University of Wyoming, was tortured and murdered in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime. The foundation set up in his honour aims to “replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance”.
Collins wears the No.98 jersey in tribute to Shepard and on Thursday (February 27) after his NBA game in Denver he presented an autographed jersey to Shepard’s family.