But, it seems, there was at least one athlete who did not respect his decision. Collins recently revealed in an interview with the New York Daily News that he has received gay taunts from another player in the NBA since he signed with the Brooklyn Nets last month.
Collins said the person who made anti-gay remarks was "one knucklehead from another team." Yet, the 35-year-old isn't letting the comments get to him.
"He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself just being professional," he said.
As Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk notes, it would have been easy for Collins to out the NBA player who taunted him. Pollakoff writes:
But the fact that he’s handling the incident in this way will only make it that much easier for others to follow his path, while letting “knuckleheads” like this one know that their simple-minded views will have nothing but the opposite of the desired effect.
After Collins signed with the Nets in late February, he expressed that his focus is on basketball, not the significance of his decision.
"Right now, I'm focused on trying to learn the plays, trying to learn the coverages, the game plan, assignments," Collins told reporters after he signed his contract with the Nets. "I don't have time to really think about history right now. I just have to focus on my job tonight."
And focus, he has. Since Collins took the court for his debut game with the team this season against the Los Angeles Lakers, the 7-foot-tall center has helped the team achieve an impressive 10-3 record.
Collins will finish up his 13th season in the league with the Nets now that the New York team signed him for the remainder of the season.