Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst
The quite-familiar sound of sneakers squeaking on the hardwood and the bounce of the basketball echoing throughout a mostly empty Barclays Center was audible in Brooklyn on Saturday evening, but something occurred less than seven miles away, and Jason Collins suddenly became the man of the hour.
History had unfolded.
Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the No. 249 overall pick of the NFL Draft and will become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
Sam came out in February, following Broooklyn’s own Jason Collins, who revealed that he was gay last spring.
Collins shared his thoughts with ESPN prior to tip-off of Game 3 of the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff series against the Miami HEAT.
“This is a great day for the NFL and for Michael Sam and his family,” Collins said on Saturday.
P“I’m looking forward to seeing him progress throughout his career and obviously, he went to the University of Missouri and he is staying close,” Collins said in reference to the fact that Sam was selected by St. Louis.
“I remember being drafted on draft day,” Collins recalled. “Not knowing when your name is gonna be called, when the phone is gonna ring. I was thinking back to 2001 when I got drafted… It’s a lot of nervous energy and just a lot of time waiting to see what happens,” he said.
For Sam, the stakes were a little higher than they were for Collins back in 2001.
Moving forward, Collins hopes that Sam’s being drafted will encourage other athletes to come out in the future.
“It takes more and more people just to come forward and show that we are normal people,” Collins said. “We are just trying to make plays to help our respective teams win and like I said before, this is a great day for the NFL and for Michael Sam and his family.”
In fact, it’s a great day for professional sports and for equality, in general.
The stories of both Collins and Sam are a step forward. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.