Why the Jason Collins Signing is a Publicity Stunt

By on March 6, 2014
Jason Collins

The Brooklyn Nets made history on this year’s trade deadline signing the first openly gay basketball player Jason Collins.  Many are wondering whether or not the signing of this less-than-average athlete was a stunt even though the team seems in need of an actual big man.

It’s hard to miss the spike in Brooklyn jersey sales that the NBA store has seen since the trade deadline.  The Brooklyn Nets made some big summer acquisitions from the Boston Celtics last offseason in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to play alongside veterans Joe Johnson, Andreo Kirilenko, and Deron Williams.  Five years ago this lineup would have seemed daunting.

Five years ago was a long time ago, though.  It was when these veterans were in their prime (relative to now at least).  They weren’t plagued by injuries or the mental struggles of being asked if they were too old to play basketball or if there bodies had one more season of basketball left to give. Deron Williams has been the piece of the Nets puzzle that has held together his teammates.  Of course, at thirty years old, he is much younger than some of his more famous teammates.  But the point is that the Brooklyn Nets don’t have much going for them anymore.  They may be the sixth seed in the east, but when has the Eastern Conference been competitive? They may be beating out their neighbors, the Knicks, but they still have a losing record.

Truth be told, this team filled with current and former All Stars may make it past the first round of the Playoffs but probably not past the second round.  Again, since they’re in the Eastern Conference, winning a series against the Raptors or the Bulls doesn’t even seem like that daunting of a task.

With all the talent they have, the Knicks should be competing with Miami and Indiana for the top two seeds. But that’s not how the NBA works.  The truth is injuries and aging stop the teams from blossoming.

The whole point being made here is that the Nets are old and they’re boring, kind of like the San Antonio Spurs.  They make have some sellout games, but that owes more to the fact that they play in Brooklyn than their skill.  I’m not trying to bash the Nets, I’m just saying that Jason Collins brings them this much needed publicity.

So why would anyone pay attention to the Brooklyn Nets? Maybe because Jay-Z owned them for a while (he was just a part-owner, but it’s Jay-Z so he must be the only important one)?  The signing of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett may have brought them into the spotlight for just a bit, but it didn’t take long for people to realize how much of a bust this gamble turned out to be.

Signing Jason Collins may have been because the Nets genuinely required a big man, but Nets’ front office was well aware of the publicity that his signing would bring.  Overall though, it’s a win-win situation.  Collins gets to play basketball after one year of being without a team and the Nets earn themselves some time in the spotlight.  Oh yeah, the NBA isn’t complaining about the spike in jersey sales either.  It’s no secret that the basketball professionals love bringing in the green.

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