Jason Collins officially became the first openly gay professional athlete to play in one of the four major North American sports this week, and the immeasurable positivity surrounding his situation has rendered any predicted backlash moot. Elsewhere, LeBron becomes Bane, as if he wasn’t that already, and Boogie Cousins returns to his scheming, maniacal ways.
1. Jason Collins signs with the Nets, becoming the first openly gay professional athlete in the major North American sports: It was highly anticipated but uncertain that a team would take a chance on the 35-year-old big man, and many teams felt the media interest surrounding his open homosexuality would outweigh any contributions he could make on the court, but the Brooklyn Knights signed Jason Collins to a ten-day contract (which will reportedly be extended to the end of the season) on Sunday. General Manager Billy King said, “The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision. We need to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.” Collins has never been a player to contribute huge statistics; in his best season, 2004-’05, he averaged just over six points and six rebounds per game for the then New Jersey Nets. He is one to willingly take hard fouls and set necessary screens, however, and no one can teach size. His impact will change professional sports forever, surely, as we’ve seen with Michael Sam already, but his on-court contributions may be just what Brooklyn needs to solidify a playoff spot and contend for relevance in the supremely weak East.
2. LeBron James breaks his nose, misses a game, re-emerges as Bane: In last Thursday’s blowout of Oklahoma City, LeBron James took a hard shot to the face from Serge Ibaka, bleeding on the floor. He missed Sunday’s game against Chicago with a broken nose but returned just in time to face the Knicks after being fitted for a protective mask. His temporary new look has already elicited memes and prods, but his 31-point performance Thursday night in Miami showed that he was no worse for wear, despite the potential Karl Malden ramifications.
3. DeMarcus Cousins throws a punch and pitches a fit, but it’s just Boogie being Boogie: For all the hoopla surrounding Cousins’ supposed improved demeanor in Sacramento this season, he still has fifteen technical fouls, a category in which he led the league last season. Against Houston on Tuesday night, Cousins threw a punch at Patrick Beverley and then got back-to-back technical fouls, earning his ticket off the court as well as a suspension for Friday night’s game against the lowly, Mamba-less Lakers. It was truly a remarkable turn for Cousins from this, which Cousins retweeted to his followers on February 24…
…to this, which occurred after the Houston game:
The jury is still out on the mercurial Cousins, to say the least. His talent is unparalleled among young big men, but he still has a few adjustments to make in order to be the hero we all deserve. In Boogie We Trust.