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10.06.2014 03:50
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Jason Collins is the NBAs only openly gay athlete and he also happens to be an unemployed free agent. wholesale jerseys . Coincidence? When Collins shared his sexuality with the world six months ago, he was hailed as a trailblazer and applauded for his courage. But Collins is a decade removed from anchoring the New Jersey Nets on back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals, and even the causal basketball fan knew he was on the downside of his career. Collins isnt Jackie Robinson, a young undeniable force poised to break down barriers, so when his name wasnt on an NBA roster on opening night, few were surprised. Collins sexuality wasnt what was holding him back from being in the league, but his talent. The 34 year-old centre had lost a step over the years and was always limited offensively, to the tune of 3.6 points per game for his career. But Collins strength is his ability to provide interior defence, rebound and supply relief minutes off the bench. His age also works in his favour as a veteran who acts accordingly, and as a solid locker room presence. However, those are costly positives at the NBA veterans minimum of $1.4 million, as teams are wary of entering the luxury tax. Collins absence in the league can be reasonably chalked up to one of the best blanket explanations in all of sports: "basketball decisions." According to Ric Bucher at Bleacher Report, several general managers said in October the apprehension of signing Collins didnt stem from concern about the locker room and his teammates, but the non-stop media hype that would come from it. "If it were just an initial blast and you knew it would settle down after that, it would be one thing," said one executive. "But you know this is something that he and his teammates are going to be asked about everywhere they go, all season long, and all it takes is one guy to say something a little off and it could really blow up. Hes still good enough to play in the league, but when you throw in the ongoing media frenzy, most teams are going to decide its just not worth it." Already this season, three starting centres (Tyson Chandler, JaVale McGee, Larry Sanders), have suffered injuries that will keep them off the court for 5-6 weeks or more. In the quest for back-up support, Collins was again overlooked. When Golden State Warriors reserve Jermaine ONeal went down with a knee injury last week, the Warriors braintrust, "entertained the idea of asking assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to come out of retirement to fill the void." Scalabrine would also be entitled to the veterans minimum and ironically came into the league with Collins as rookie teammates on the Nets. The Warriors subsequently called up rookie Dewayne Dedmon from their D-League affiliate. While the notion of going with a younger, cheaper player is just smart business, the idea that there is a not-worth-the-hassle notion amongst general managers when it comes to Collins shows that his sexuality is an issue. Jason Collins isnt as talented as Jackie Robinson; he is a serviceable NBA player on the fringe. But if opportunities exist and teams continue to look past him due to concerns over the media fallout of his sexuality, he is being discriminated against just the same as Robinson was in 1947. This isnt a basketball decision and no one, not even Collins wants to be in the league because hes gay; he just wants to play and feels he can contribute. This isnt a situation of players acting ignorant or insensitive, but shortsighted gatekeepers, of which one wouldve likely signed Collins this season, if they were unaware of his sexuality, and thats a bigger problem. wholesale nfl jerseys . Jeff Withey netted 12 points as the Jayhawks (16-3, 6-0 Big 12) picked up their ninth straight win. JCovan Brown finished with a game-high 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Longhorns (12-7, 2-4), who suffered their first loss in 12 home games this season. cheap jerseys from china . Andy Dalton has done something special during his just-getting-started career.( - The Toronto Raptors will look to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2008 when they host the Boston Celtics tonight at the Air Canada Centre in the back end of a home and home. After picking up a rare win in Boston, the Toronto Raptors will be back on familiar ground when they host the Celtics Friday from Air Canada Centre. Terrence Ross led the Raptors with 24 points in a 99-90 triumph, while Kyle Lowry continued his recent tear with 23 and nine rebounds. DeMar DeRozan rounded out the 20-point scorers with exactly that many and Jonas Valanciunas ended with 15 points and 14 rebounds for Toronto, which has alternated results in the last six games. The Raptors broke an 11-game losing streak in Boston, last winning there on Jan. 23, 2008. "That was a character test for us," said Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. "I think this team has a lot of character. Situations were not there yet, but again its not from a lack of fight and togetherness." Casey needs three wins to reach 100 victories with the team. The Raptors last posted 40 total wins in a season in 2009-10 (40-42) and the fastest team to reach 40 wins was the 1999-00 squad after 70 games. The current unit needed 71 games to reach the mark. Lowry has scored 19 or more points in each of the last 11 games, averaging 22.5 points in that span. DeRozan is averaging more than 20 points per game against Atlantic Division foes. Toronto leads the division by 2 1/2 games ahead of Brooklyn and is even with Chicago for the third spot in the Easterrn Conference. cheap jerseys. Toronto is 21-14 north of the border this season. Boston has lost two in a row and nine of its last 12 games, and was paced by Jared Sullingers 26 points (19 in fourth quarter) and eight rebounds on Wednesday. "Sully (Sullinger) got hot and I thought even though we were really undersized we played pretty well in that time," said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. Avery Bradley had 16 points, Rajon Rondo chipped in nine and 15 assists and Chris Johnson added 13 points off the bench. The Celtics shot 41 percent from the floor and had a 51-7 advantage from their reserves. The Celtics will try to stop an eight-game road losing streak in Toronto and have an 8-26 mark as the visitor. Their previous road win was Feb. 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Celtics forward Jeff Green had six points in 20 minutes on Wednesday and is bothered by a stiff neck. Green hopes to play against the Raptors. Rondo needed stitches to close a cut on his forehead and returned to the game to cover Raptors All-Star DeRozan. "I think it obviously says a lot. He wants to play and not only, I think the most important part about it is he came back in and guarded DeRozan (DeMar)," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of Rondo. "He went after it and I thought he did a pretty good job on him." Toronto is 2-1 against the Celtics this season, but the latter has prevailed in four of the last seven meetings between the teams. Boston has lost two straight, four of five and five of its last seven trips to Canada. ' ' '

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