Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins met privately with the parents and brother of the late Matthew Shepard following the team’s 112-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night at Pepsi Center. The player gave Dennis and Judy Shepard an autographed, No. 98 black and white jersey, and laughter could be heard throughout the 10-minute meeting. Collins, who became the first active openly gay player in NBA history Sunday after signing a 10-day contract with the Nets, wears No. 98 in honor of Shepard, who was beaten, tortured and murdered in a 1998 anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming. “It was great,” said Judy Shepard, who had spoken with Collins by phone last year after Collins announced he was gay and wore No. 98 because of her son. “It was all great. He’s very kind, smart, humble. It was delightful. We were happy to finally have the opportunity to meet.” She said receiving his jersey was “cool. It was very sweet, very genuine and very thoughtful.” “I did not want to give them a sweaty jersey,” Collins said with a laugh when asked whether it was game-worn. “This is a backup.”
RELATED: Collins scored three points in last night’s game. They were the first points scored by an openly gay player in NBA history, but the announcers in the below clip made only routine comments. That’s probably a good thing.