Updated: Monday, 24 February 2014 03:23 | By Agence France-Presse

Nets to make Collins first openly gay player, reports say

Jason Collins is expected to sign with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets on Sunday and become the first openly gay man to play in a major US pro sports league, US media reported.

Nets to make Collins first openly gay player, reports say

Professional basketball player Jason Collins speaks on November 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California - by Imeh Akpanudosen

Sports network ESPN, citing unnamed sources, said the Nets were poised to sign Collins to a 10-day contract and have him in uniform on Sunday night in their game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Collins, 35, revealed his homosexuality last April, but has not played since then.

The 13-year NBA veteran last played in an NBA game earlier that same month, when he completed his contract with the Washington Wizards.

ESPN and USA Today reported that the Nets decided to make the deal with Collins after learning that Glen Davis planned to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers after he becomes a free agent on Sunday evening.

Collins was praised for his courage in coming out as gay by US President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton and many players in the NBA.

If he takes the court in an NBA game, Collins would be the first openly gay man to play in one of the four major North American pro sports leagues.

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a US pro league when he took the field for a Major League Soccer match last May, three months after revealing he was gay.

In addition, University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, a US college star in American football who is likely to be selected in the NFL Draft later this year, announced this month that he is gay, but his first chance to play in the NFL could not come until an exhibition game in August at the earliest.

Collins played for the Nets in his first six seasons in the league, helping take the team to the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals when it was based in nearby New Jersey.

At Brooklyn, Collins would be united with former Nets teammate Jason Kidd, now the Nets' coach.

The Nets, in the midst of a seven-game road trip, are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and lie four games behind Toronto for the Atlantic division lead.

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