NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Jason Collins: We fell behind.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

In an interview with the New York Post, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his mixed emotions regarding Jason Collins.  On one hand he’s excited there’s finally an openly gay player in the NBA, but on the other hand he’s discontent that it’s taken so long. Read Silver’s comments after the jump:

“I have mixed feelings, because I’m enormously proud that the first openly gay player is playing in the NBA,” Silver told The Post in a phone interview prior to Sunday’s game. “On the other hand, this is so long overdue that I don’t think this should necessarily be on the list of the greatest accomplishments of the NBA.

“This is an area where no one in sports should be too proud. Sports has led society in so many critical areas … this is one where we fell behind.”

“I was disappointed that he wasn’t on a roster at the opening of this season, but I was satisfied after talking to [Collins’ agent] Arn Tellem and talking to several GMs that teams were making a basketball decision, and the fact he wasn’t on a roster at the beginning of this year wasn’t related to his sexuality.

“And several teams predicted that a team would add him after the trading deadline, so I’m thrilled that this moment has come. And while it shouldn’t be such a big deal, it is a big deal. It’s a big deal for Jason, it’s a big deal for the gay community, and the NBA is proud that he feels comfortable doing it in our league.” – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaking with the New York Post.

On a related note, since his debut with the Brooklyn Nets, there has been a huge demand for Collins’ jerseys, an unprecedented event for someone on a 10-day contract. You can buy his #98 jersey in the NBA store as of yesterday. Collins official number is 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming gay college student who was brutally murdered in 1998. For his opening game Collins had to wear #46, but in the next game he should be wearing his own number again.

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