HOUSTON -- The admission from NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay has set off a firestorm of talk around the nation.
Collins first step into the NBA was as a Houston Rocket. He was drafted with the 18th pick in the first round in 2001, only to be packaged up with other Rockets players in a huge trade that sent him to New Jersey.
Collins career has been long, but not historic, until Monday.
His announcement was a surprise to most, like Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
Jason Collins is a great guy. I coached him... was around him...love him, McHale said.
The Rockets players we talked to spoke in support of the first openly gay and active NBA player.
I'm not the private police. He is a great guy. I could not have enjoyed him more, said McHale. Hard worker. Tough. Just really a total team guy. That is why he's played 12 years in the league.
Seven-year NBA veteran Aaron Brooks said there would be little long-term impact.
Hopefully (it ll) expand our fan base, Brooks added.
I think that is a very brave and a respectful move that he came out. Did not want to live a lie and just wanted to be himself, said Rocket forward Chandler Parsons.
Privately, coaches and players will tell you that Collins is likely not alone in the NBA. But none of them seem to think that that would impact anything on the court.