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Jason Collins’ great stories about Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers 05.01.13 at 5:24 pm ET
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A couple great stories from Jason Collinspodcast with Bill Simmons about Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett that might instill some confidence in Celtics fans prior to Game 5 against the Knicks …

What’s your best Kevin Garnett story?

“He could be telling you about the weather, and he’ll break out in a full sweat. His intensity is just non-stop. It’s infectious. It makes you work even harder and makes you want to show up even earlier to practice, because you know that this guy is sacrificing his body. He plays through so much behind the scenes. He puts himself out there emotionally and physically. He’s a pro’s pro.”

Will he retire at the end of this season?

“You’ve got to ask him that. I hope not.”

Could you see him shutting that switch off?

He’s going to be that way until the end of his days. He’ll be going hard in a nursing home, although I don’t think he’ll ever be in a nursing home with the amount of money he’s making. He’ll have the suite.

“His intensity is really inspiring. I think if he ever chooses to be an assistant coach, he’d be great. I don’t know if he ever has that in him. He would be awesome with Charles [Barkley on TV]. They might need a seven-second delay for him. Obviously, he can do whatever he wants.”

Is Doc Rivers the best coach you’ve played for?

“I played for a lot of great coaches, but there’s a special place in my heart for Doc Rivers. Just the way he always talks about the team, and me being a team guy, it just really spoke to my heart. Not only the team, but it’s a family. He had that one saying that just stuck with me: If you want to go quickly, go by yourself. If you want to go farther, you’ve got to go in a group.’ It’s comments like that — that someone like me, a team guy who sacrifices so much — I appreciate his professionalism.

“I hadn’t played in a long stretch of games, and he called me into his office and said, ‘Jason, I want you to know that we see you working hard in the training room, and when you’re opportunity comes, just be ready.’ I’m like, ‘Doc, you don’t even need to have that conversation with me. I appreciate that you show me that professional courtesy, that respect of having that conversation with me, but you don’t have to have that conversation with me, because I’m already there with you.’

“He really is an amazing leader, and KG and Paul [Pierce] can speak better to the kind of person, coach and leader he is.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, Kevin Garnett
Celtics veterans support Jason Collins 04.30.13 at 4:23 pm ET
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Celtics veterans unanimously supported former teammate Jason Collins‘ decision to come out as the first openly gay player in major American sports in an autobiographical Sports Illustrated piece.

Collins told C’s coach Doc Rivers a few days ago and phoned Celtics captain Paul Pierce before the news broke on Monday morning. Rivers, Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green and Jason Terry all expressed genuine happiness for Collins, and their words must reinforce the erstwhile Celtics center’s decision to come forward.

Here are the Celtics speaking about Collins in their own words:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, Jason Terry
Ex-Celtic Jason Collins: ‘I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life’ at 2:10 pm ET
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Collins_Jason-SI cover 5-13Jason Collins had a sit-down interview with “Good Morning America” that aired on Tuesday morning, and he said that he has received “incredible” support since coming out as a gay man on Monday. With his recent revelation, Collins has become the first openly gay player in one of the four major U.S. sports leagues.

“I think, I know, in my personal life, I’m ready and I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player,” Collins told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Collins’ announcement was featured in a first-person article on Sports Illustrated’s website Monday and will be appearing as the cover story in next week’s issue. Collins was asked by Stephanopoulos if he hopes other players will follow his example.

“I hope that every player makes a decision that leads to their own happiness, whatever happiness that is in life,” Collins said. “I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life.”

The former Celtics center has received a nearly unanimous positive response and lots of support, including a phone call from President Barack Obama.

“It’s incredible. Just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” Collins said. “He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me, said this not only affected my life but others going forward.”

Collins also spoke of former tennis star Martina Navratilova‘s decision to come out in 1981, and calls her his “role model.” He added that he could hopefully become someone else’s role model in the future.

Collins, who averaged 1.1 points per game this season with the Celtics and Wizards, is a free agent who plans to continue his career and is expecting continued support.

“From my teammates, I’m expecting support because that’s what I would do for my teammates,” Collins said. “A team is like a family. The NBA is like a brotherhood. And I’m looking at it like we all support each other, on and off the court.”

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Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Celtics ‘just don’t have enough offensive talent’ at 9:52 am ET
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Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy

ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about Jason Collins, the Celtics and the playoffs.

Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who started the season with the Celtics and was traded to the Wizards in February, revealed Monday that he is gay. The support from people in and around the league was immediate and impressive.

“I expected every player to publicly support him, certainly the league to support him,” Van Gundy said. “I think the question that remains is privately, when you get behind the locker room doors, or they’re in their rooms in the hotels, what do they say then? Because everyone’s aware player-wise that to do like what [Dolphins wide receiver] Mike Wallace said yesterday, there’s going to be major repercussions. But to think that some players don’t have those similar thoughts but just won’t publicly express them is a bit naive. I think if Collins is on a roster next year, I think the public support will always be there. Privately, I think there will still be some ignorance to his situation.”

Collins is being heralded as the first active player in major team sports to come out. However, Van Gundy isn’t so sure Collins, a free agent, will be playing next season.

“The big issue whether Collins gets signed next year or if he’s not signed is going to have nothing to do with his sexual orientation and everything to do with his diminishing skills and athleticism,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a marginal NBA player right now, at best.”

The Celtics head back to New York for Wednesday’s Game 5 as heavy underdogs as they look to extend the series.

“I just think that the Celtics, are they going to be able to find enough offense over the next three games to legitimately put pressure on New York,” Van Gundy said. “Certainly if they win Game 5, anything becomes possible then because then you just have to win one home game to get to the ultimate Game 7. But when I see them, their guard struggles are so dramatic without [Rajon] Rondo that it’s difficult to create quality opportunities in the halfcourt. I think it will be even more so on the road.

“The thing that’s been overlooked is the first two halves of the games in New York, Boston was great. So many people have been focusing on what was wrong in the second halves, and I think it’s a talent issue, they just don’t have enough offensive talent with the loss of Rondo and Ray Allen from last year. But if they can stay in a faster-paced game, like they can get that ball and advance it and attack before the Knick defense gets set, then we’ve seen how effective Jeff Green can be in that type of game, [Paul] Pierce can hit some trail 3′s. I just think they have to play with pace and offensive energy. And if they can do that, their defense should be able to limit New York. They’re still an excellent defensive team.”

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Read More: Dwight Howard, Jason Collins, Jeff Green, Jeff Van Gundy
Joe Kennedy ‘proud to stand with’ Jason Collins 04.29.13 at 2:52 pm ET
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Joe Kennedy (AP)

Joe Kennedy (AP)

Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, who roomed with former Celtics center Jason Collins at Stanford University, issued the following statement about his friend’s decision to come out as the first openly gay athlete in any major American sport:

“For as long as I’ve known Jason Collins he has been defined by three things: his passion for the sport he loves, his unwavering integrity, and the biggest heart you will ever find. Without question or hesitation, he gives everything he’s got to those of us lucky enough to be in his life. I’m proud to stand with him today and proud to call him a friend.”

Kennedy played a vital role in Collins’ decision to write a Sports Illustrated article announcing his sexuality. Here’s what Collins said about his Cardinal roommate:

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton declared on Twitter, “I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,” in addition to issuing the following statement on his website:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Jason Collins, Joe Kennedy, NBA
Celtics coach Doc Rivers ‘proud of’ Jason Collins at 2:09 pm ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Celtics coach Doc Rivers issued this statement after former C’s center Jason Collins became the first openly gay active player in major American sports:

“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite ‘team’ players I have ever coached. If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be. It’s not up to you, it’s just me being me.’”

Outing himself in this Sports Illustrated article, Collins quoted Rivers: “If you want to go quickly, go by yourself — if you want to go farther, go in a group.”

As recently as three weeks ago, Rivers discussed the inevitability of an openly gay NBA player. “There’ll be a lot of talk about it, and then I think it will go away,” Rivers said before a Celtics practice on April 9, the day after he took the team to watch the “42″ film about Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier.

SI’s Ian Thomsen caught up with Rivers after Collins’ announcement on Monday.

“He is terrific,” Rivers told Thomsen. “Losing him was hard for me because I just thought he was such a great teammate and such a great guy in the locker room. That’s what you want is those guys in your locker room.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Jason Collins, NBA
NBA offers support to Jason Collins after his decision to come out at 1:33 pm ET
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Jason Collins

Jason Collins

There has been overwhelmingly positive response to former Celtics center Jason Collins‘ revelation Monday that he is gay. Collins revealed his homosexuality in a first-person article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.

NBA commissioner David Stern made his support clear in a statement released shortly after the article was posted on the web.

“As [deputy NBA commissioner] Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and [twin brother] Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” Stern said. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

Collins, 34, is a free agent after playing out the season with the Wizards following his trade from Boston in February.

“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfield said in a statement. “He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”

A number of NBA players also offered encourgament via Twitter.

 

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