Jason Collins has become the first active openly gay athlete in any of North America's four major professional sports: baseball, basketball, American football and ice hockey.
The 35-year-old signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets NBA (National Basketball Association) team earlier this evening (February 23).
"The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision," the NBA team's general manager Billy King said in a statement. "We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract."
The Brooklyn Nets have since tweeted a picture of Collins signing his contract, which appears below.
Collins is expected to make his debut appearance for the Brooklyn Nets tonight (February 23) in their match against the LA Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Collins came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated
cover story that he wrote himself and posted on the magazine's website on April 29, 2013. He had played his last NBA game until now, for the Washington Wizards, earlier that month.
After news broke that he had signed with the Brooklyn Jets, two other openly gay US sports stars voiced their support for Collins on Twitter.
LA Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers tweeted: "Very excited to watch @jasoncollins34 tonight more importantly I am proud to call him my friend."
Meanwhile, NFL (National Football League) prospect Michael Sam, who came out as gay earlier this month (February), tweeted: "Congratulations to my friend @jasoncollins34 - excited to see you do work out there #courage #groundbreaking."
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