Jerry Stackhouse 'proud' of ex-teammate Jason Collins' courage in coming outNets veteran says that 'as a league, we have to support him'
Like current Brooklyn Nets teammate Joe Johnson, Jerry Stackhouse played alongside Collins on the Atlanta Hawks last season, and following Brooklyn’s victory over Chicago in Game 5 of their playoff series Monday night, Stackhouse spoke with the media at length about Collins as both a man and a player.
Stackhouse on Collins coming out: “I’m very proud that he had the courage to step out the way he did, and as a league we have to support him.”
On speaking to Collins: “I knew about [the potential of a player coming out] for a while. I didn’t know exactly who it was, but there was talk, and some guys had been discussing what people may think about someone coming out. Once I found out who it was, I reached out to him…we were teammates in Atlanta and I got to know him quite well, and he was just another guy.”
On Collins’ personality and his decision to come out: “He was always joking. He has a dry humor but he’s a fun guy. I think he has a lot of weight off his shoulders now. I talked with him, and I think he just got tired of living a lie and having to tell half-truths, and now I think he can just go out and enjoy his life, and hopefully he can continue to do it on a basketball court.”
On Collins as a player: “When you’re tough, you’re tough; he was a guy who went in the game and knew his job was to come into the game and take six hard fouls; that’s what he did, and he did it well. Like I said, I hope that his career can continue, because I know he wants to play.”
On what Collins’ announcement means to the NBA and sports: “I think that we’re one of the…I don’t like to use the word tolerant, but I just think we’re more open-minded to different race, gender, whatever; even [Dallas Mavericks owner] Mark [Cuban] was talking about drafting [former Baylor University star and No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick Brittney] Griner. I just think we’re open to a lot of things, and I think we’ve come a long way.”
On the impact of Collins’ announcement: “The fact that we have a player that came out…there may be more players in the league who have a fear of coming out, but now that someone has taken a stand, they may be able to get past whatever fears they may have and be able to live and take that burden off their shoulders.”
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