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Coronavirus: Longtime NBA player Jason Collins tests positive for COVID-19

Jason Collins, a 13-year NBA veteran who last played in 2014, announced Tuesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Collins, most known as the first and only active NBA player to come out as gay, said in a series of tweets that he believes he contracted the virus during a recent trip to New York that included a Brooklyn Nets game. He experienced his first symptoms March 11 and has been dealing with a headache, fever and cough in the days since. 

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Collins, 41, said he is home resting but is still dealing with chest tightness. He also encouraged the general public to continue to practice social distancing and thanked healthcare workers for their efforts. 

Collins played 13 NBA seasons, came out as gay in 2013

Collins was the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets and was shipped to the New Jersey Nets in a draft-night deal. He spent seven seasons with the Nets, mainly serving as the team’s starting center — including the two years they advanced to the NBA Finals. 

In 2008, Collins was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. He later bounced around the league and had stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. 

After the 2012-13 season, Collins publicly came out as gay in an issue of Sports Illustrated. In doing so, he became the first active male athlete in one of the four major American sports to do so. A few months later, Collins became a free agent and eventually returned to the court in February 2014 on a 10-day contract with the Nets, where he finished out the season. 

Collins played 22 games that season for Brooklyn and went on to announce his retirement from professional basketball in November 2014. 

Longtime Nets center Jason Collins announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus. (Photo By: Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Four active Nets players tested positive

Collins joins four active Nets players who have tested positive for COVID-19. Kevin Durant publicly stated that he is one of the four who tested positive. The other three have remained anonymous. The team announced the positive tests earlier this month. 

Elsewhere in the NBA, two Los Angeles Lakers players also tested positive, as did Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, three members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization and one member of the Denver Nuggets organization. 

Earlier this month, Utah Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were the first two confirmed cases in the NBA. Gobert’s positive test prompted the NBA to indefinitely suspend its season. Christian Wood, a forward for the Detroit Pistons, also tested positive.

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