Carter praises Collins

02/24/2014 12:48 PM

02/24/2014 12:48 PM

Dallas Mavericks forward Vince Carter understands why all the questions surrounding Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, who on Sunday became the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major United States professional sports.

"It's new, it's the hot topic, so we're going to be asked about it,'' Carter said following Monday morning's shootaround at Madison Square Garden. "I think after probably once the season is over and it's not his first time in every new city, it'll be over with.

"I understand why, but at the time time it was said, it's done with, he's played his game. We understand he's the first player, openly gay player and all that. I think it's time to move on.''

The Nets signed Collins to a 10-day contract on Sunday and he contributed no points, two rebounds and one steal while playing 11 minutes in Brooklyn's 108-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Meanwhile, Carter and Collins were teammates with the Nets from 2004-'08. At the time, Collins' sexual preference wasn't known to his teammates or anyone else in the NBA.

So what was Collins like back then?

"Like any other player,'' Carter said. "I don't understand when people ask that question, because it's not like we knew.

"So he wasn't any different than any other player.''

Carter is happy Collins is back doing what he loves to do best.

"I'm happy he's back in the league,'' Carter said. "He's a guy who plays extremely hard, sets hard screens, knows the game very well, and he wanted to play basketball again because he felt he could. I'm happy for him.''

Carter knows exactly when a historic story such as Collins' story will one day become a non-story.

"When you guys stop asking about it,'' Carter said. "It's the truth.

"This is just something new, so everybody is going to jump on it. I get it. I think everyone's handled it well.''

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