SAN FRANCISCO – Being mistaken for your sibling is a daily part of life for identical twins. The mistaken identity has a little more meaning now for ex-NBA player Jarron Collins after his brother, Jason, recently became the first active male pro athlete in a major American sport to announce he was gay.
"I get people looking at me, especially kids, teenagers," Jarron Collins said after a television appearance Thursday night. "They look at me and they do the double-take. They look at their smart phones and double-check for a profile pic. But I would say that the interaction in public has been supportive. It's, 'Hey are you Jason?' 'No, I'm Jarron.' 'I just love what your brother did,' sort of thing.
"Coming here in the airport I must have been stopped 10 times. The most awkward was going through security. Someone was going through, put their keys down, looked at me and said, 'Collins! Hey.' I'm like, 'I'm the other one. That's my brother.' But for someone that is the other one, my twin, I'm really happy for him. People in everyday society are supportive and have words of encouragement."
After a national media blitz since his announcement on April 29, Jason Collins, a free agent, is taking a break from interviews and "moving on with his life," his brother said. One of the last interviews is with Jimmy Kimmel, a discussion that is scheduled to air May 15 with his brother as a guest, too.
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Jarron Collins took part in many media interviews during his 11-year NBA career and is an aspiring basketball television analyst. Despite his experience, things were overwhelming for him shortly after the big announcement.
"When the story first broke I literally had a local television station knock on my front door trying to get a comment," Collins said. "But it's all dying down now."
Jason Collins had 41 points and 60 rebounds while playing in 38 games with Boston and Washington this past season and has 713 games of NBA experience. He is hopeful to get signed this offseason.
"He's gearing up like he always does in the summer to come back and do his thing next season," Jarron Collins said. "Whether or not he gets the opportunity remains to be seen. I'm optimistic that teams will value my brother. I understand you have to take into account everything in its totality.
"But my brother, when it comes down to it as a basketball player, I hope that the guys in the locker room, the coaches and hopefully the people evaluating say, 'OK, he's gay. But what does he bring to the team?' You're talking about a guy who has played 12 years, is extremely professional and, talking to his coaches, is a pro's pro."
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