Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, legend Kevin Johnson discuss Jason Collins’ historic signing

Feb 24, 2014, 2:07 AM | Updated: 3:17 pm

Sunday was a landmark day in the National Basketball Association, as veteran center Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay player to do so.

The news swept across the league, so much so that Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek was asked about it during his pre-game media session Sunday night.

“Jason is one of those smart players,” Hornacek said. “He knows the game in and out. If we had a need for a big guy, we would have went after him. It was just a fact of we didn’t have that need. We had three bigs at the time.

“I’m glad for him that he’s back in the league. I was in Utah when his brother Jarron was there. They’re great guys. It’s good to see him back.”

Hornacek wasn’t the only one to share his thoughts about Collins’ historic signing.

Former Sun Kevin Johnson, who was honored by the organization Sunday for the 20th anniversary of his dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon, noted that originally he wasn’t a ‘big fan’ of Collins, because the two attended rival universities — Cal and Stanford.

However, the 2014 Naismith Hall of Fame finalist said that the minute Collins came out publicly last April, all rivalries went out the window.

“As soon as he came out and made his comments in the Sports Illustrated story, we all have a responsibility to support him,” said Johnson, who now serves as the mayor of Sacramento. “I’ve been a huge supporter. I saw him two weeks ago at the White House and thanked him for his courage and for being strong.

“I wished him well and said, ‘Keep fighting hard.’ I think it’s incredible. I think it’s incredible for him. It’s incredible for the league. If I’m the Nets, my commitment is I want to make the playoffs and go far. All of that is fine, but I need him to help me win games. And, I think he’s up for the challenge.”

Collins has played for six different teams (Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards) during his 12-year NBA career.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets heads for the net as Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns def...
Alex Weiner

Reports: Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets, Suns preferred choice

Kevin Durant reportedly requested a trade from the Nets Thursday and picked the Suns as a preferred destination, Chris Haynes reported. 
13 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns runs onto the court before the start of Game Five of the West...
Arizona Sports

ESPN’s Marks projects Suns RFA Deandre Ayton will receive max contract

ESPN's Bobby Marks projects Suns RFA Deandre Ayton will make $31 million annually, a max contract for players with 0-6 years of service.
13 hours ago
General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns watches warm-ups to Game One of the Western Confere...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns offseason checklist: What needs to get done in free agency

This is the most difficult offseason for Suns GM James Jones since he got the job in 2019 and I doubt he sees a tougher one in the future.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Aaron Holiday (4) drives between Sacramento Kings guard Josh Jackson (55) and gu...
Kevin Zimmerman

Report: Suns opt against making Aaron Holiday restricted free agent

The Phoenix Suns will not extend a qualifying offer to backup guard Aaron Holiday, giving the team financial relief.
2 days ago
Dennis Schroder #17 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns free-agency focus: Will there be a significant upgrade at guard?

The Phoenix Suns could shake up the backcourt to help Chris Paul and Devin Booker manage the load, but how likely is it via free agency?
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) looks to pass over Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) du...
Kevin Zimmerman

Deandre Ayton free agency market could be cooling with reported Pistons trade

The Detroit Pistons appear to have removed themselves from the Deandre Ayton chase days before free agency officially begins in the NBA.
2 days ago
Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, legend Kevin Johnson discuss Jason Collins’ historic signing