NBA journeyman Jason Collins hasn't found a team since announcing last April that he is gay. Commissioner Adam Silver says the reason for his NBA unemployment has nothing to do with his sexual orientation.
"In terms of Jason not getting signed, based on everything I've been told, it's a basketball decision," Silver said. "Our teams want to win and Jason waited until the very tail end of his career to make that announcement."
Collins' name was brought back into the news Sunday night when Missouri defensive end Michael Sam publicly came out as gay.
When Collins made his announcement last April, he had just finished up his 12th NBA season and was a free agent. But Collins' age -- he turned 35 in December -- and his relative lack of production might have been the toughest obstacles to overcome.
In the 38 games he played for the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards last season, Collins averaged 1 point and 1.5 rebounds per game.
Silver said that while it isn't a competition among leagues, he was proud that Collins "felt comfortable enough that he could come out in the NBA."
The commissioner said he still thinks there's a chance Collins might be called in to help a team down the stretch, and the perception of his game would be the only factor.
"We want teams to make the best possible decisions from [a] basketball standpoint," said Silver, who is in his 10th day on the job after replacing David Stern. "Ultimately, that's what it's all about. I'm sure Jason was never looking for a special favor or a special slot because he had publicly come out."
Collins' agent, Arn Tellem, was travelling and was not immediately available for comment.
In 2007, former NBA player John Amaechi became the first person who had played in the league to come out, but that was three years after his career ended.
The NBA also had a high-profile league executive come out publicly. In 2011, current Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts, once a league executive, told the New York Times that he is gay.