NEW YORK — The news that veteran center Jason Collins came out as the first active openly gay NBA player reverberated around the league Monday.
Collins, who finished the regular season with the Washington Wizards, has been getting plenty of support from his peers.
“I don’t know Jason well. We met with him last summer and I was very impressed with him as a person. Two close friends of mine have coached him and they’ve raved about him as a person, as a player, as a leader, so I didn’t think it was a big deal. In today’s society, that’s normal, so I was very impressed with him and my opinion of him hasn’t changed one bit, and I’m happy for him,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before Monday night’s Game 5 against the Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I just think it’s reflective of society. The NBA’s always been open-minded and I think it will continue to be so, so I don’t see it as being a problem.”
[More: NBA, others react to Collins' SI story]
Two Bulls players, Kirk Hinrich and reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovic, were teammates of Collins in Atlanta.
“I really don’t have an opinion. I really don’t have a comment on it. It’s his business,” Hinrich said. “I was surprised. But it’s his business. I don’t like people trying to tell me how to live my life. He was a good teammate, a good guy. It’s really not significant to me. It doesn’t really change what kind of person he is. He’s a good guy and that’s just who he is.”
Radmanovic added: “It’s Jason’s personal thing and I don’t think there should be any big discussions about it.
“He’s a good guy, a good teammate. Just because he is what he is doesn’t make any difference to me.”