With 10 minutes left in the second quarter of Sunday’s NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers, Jason Collins stepped onto the court and made history. The 35-year-old free agent became the first gay athlete to compete in any of North America’s four professional sports.
Collins hit the hardwood for the Nets hours after signing a 10-day contract with the team, ESPN.com reports. This was his first time professionally playing basketball since announcing his sexual orientation in May 2013 with a first-person article in Sports Illustrated.
Collins’s entry from the bench into the game was greeted with a roar of applause from the crowd. The center went on to help the Nets best the Lakers 108-102. He finished with two rebounds, five fouls and a spot in sports history.
“His impact is greater than what people think. You look at it from the context of having the first openly gay player. But they missed the domino effect that it has way beyond sports,” Lakers player Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. “It s fantastic. It sets an incredible precedent.”
This excitement and respect for Collins’s achievement continued off the court, with thousands of fans, sports figures and celebrities logging on to share their support.
See how the Twitterverse has reacted to Collins’s historic night:
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