The Washington Post

Wizards’ Jason Collins riding the wave, not writing a book – yet

I’m talking to Oprah! (AP Photo/OWN, Chuck Hodes)

Jason Collins continues to ride the wave of positive momentum since he came out as the first active openly gay athlete in one of the four major professional sports. Already this week, Collins has done sit-down interviews with “Good Morning America” and “Oprah’s Next Chapter” and been chosen to join first lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Committee’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender gala on May 29 in New York.

But  on his Twitter account, @jasoncollins34, Collins disputed reports on Monday that he is shopping a book deal: “I have no current plans to write any books. Sorry to disappoint my literary loving fans. #GoingToTheGym.”

Collins told Washington Post columnist Mike Wise last week that the response to his announcement has “been remarkable.” While technically under contract with the Wizards through June 30, his return remains unlikely unless Washington feels the need to add a big man before training camp, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s plans.

In his two months with the Wizards, Collins connected with several of his teammates and felt compelled to call Emeka Okafor before his first-person Sports Illustrated article was published. “I either texted or talked to John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and a couple of other teammates right before or right after everything came out,” Collins told Wise. “All of them let me know they were supportive, which meant a lot.”

Collins also defended the organization after late night talk show host Conan O’Brien joked, “Congratulations to NBA player Jason Collins on being brave enough to admit that he’s a Washington Wizard.” After Wise repeated the joke, Collins chuckled but said, “Don’t talk bad about the Wizards. The Wizards are going to have a good team next year, especially if everybody comes in healthy.”

The Red Sox have asked Collins throw out the first pitch before Boston’s gay pride parade, which he plans to march in this year with his old Stanford roommate, U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy III.

“I got to be better than John Wall,” he said. “I don’t mean to talk trash about John, but I saw that clip of him last year [at the Nationals game]. That thing looked like…oh, that was terrible. Even if I throw underhanded, it will look better than John Wall’s pitch.”

A 12-year NBA veteran, Collins is a free agent and still hopes to latch on to another team next season. In a statement to the Associate Press, Collins’ agent, Arn Tellem, responded to rumors about a book deal. “Jason has yet to decide if he wants to write a book,” Tellem said. “Right now my focus is preparing for Jason’s upcoming free agency and securing the best opportunity for him to continue his career.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.



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Michael Lee · May 3, 2013