The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that it will donate all proceeds – not to be less than $100,000 - from the sale of Jason Collins Brooklyn Nets jerseys to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. In addition, the league will auction off Collins’ autographed, game-worn jerseys to benefit the same organizations.
Collins became the first openly gay, active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports on Feb. 23, after signing with his original team, the Nets. Since he was added to the roster, Collins’ jersey rose to the No. 1 spot on the top-selling jersey list at NBAStore.com. Collins chose to wear the number “98” in honor of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was murdered in 1998 after being targeted for being openly gay.
“I’m thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations, both of which work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life,” said Brooklyn Nets Center Jason Collins.
The NBA has a long history of supporting the LGBT community including partnerships with GLSEN, GLAAD and Athlete Ally and was the recipient of the 2012 Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards. In addition, Jason Collins received the 2013 Courage Award at the 10th annual GLSEN Respect Awards and Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried was awarded the 2012 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, in part because of his relationship to Athlete Ally and his work championing equality and bringing awareness to the importance of respect and inclusion.