Basketball / Sports

Nets' Jason Collins congratulates NFL's Michael Sam

Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins kept the message simple.

Collins sent a text the moment Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.

Shortly after, Collins sent another to Sam, who became the league's first openly gay player.

"I sent him a text just congratulating him," Collins said. "I wish him the best of the luck."

It was Collins who made news last April when he announced he was gay. He has since served as sort of mentor for Sam, who was the SEC defensive player of the year at Missouri. The two have spoken often, with Collins offering encouragement.

Collins said he expects Sam to endure similar challenges. Collins' sexual orientation was the focus for a few months before it eventually returned to basketball.

"Obviously, it will be the same case with Michael," Collins said. "For the first couple weeks, it will be gay athlete this and that. But after that, it's like it is with me. It's back to the usual. It's about basketball."

Collins has been a footnote during the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat. He's yet to play in the postseason, his last game action coming against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the regular-season finale.

"For us right now, it's about the Miami heat and just trying to get a win," Collins said. "We need to get a win."

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