Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers wishes Jason Collins had gotten more rebounds. Jeff Green liked the screens his former teammate set. Jason Terry would love to have Collins’ toughness in the playoffs.
And they’re all happy for Collins after he came out as gay.
None of the Celtics expressed concern Tuesday about having been on the same team as a gay player. They did care about what he did to help Boston win games and about how he might help other gay athletes.
“There are so many professional athletes, there are so many human beings that live a dark life, that are scared to expose it because of the exposure of sports and what people may think about them,” Paul Pierce said. “I think what he did was a great thing just to open the door for a number of athletes who probably now are going to have the courage to come out.”
Rivers said Collins told him he was gay “a couple of days” before his announcement Monday on Sports Illustrated’s website.
“I don’t know if [I was] surprised, or really didn’t care one way or the other,” Rivers said. “It’s a nonfactor to me. And I know it is a factor to a lot of people. I just have never understood why anyone cares about what someone else does.
“He told me he was coming out and I told him, ‘great, you know, good. Let’s move forward.’ And I jokingly said, ‘I wish you could have gotten me more rebounds,’ because that’s all I care about.”
The 7-foot Collins played 32 games for the Celtics in his only season with them. He averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. They traded him on Feb. 21 to Washington, his sixth team in 12 seasons.
Collins played just six games with the Wizards with four points and eight rebounds.
Now he’s a free agent. Some Celtics said they’d like to have him back next season.
Charlotte seeks interview
The Charlotte Bobcats have asked permission to interview Cavaliers assistant coach Nate Tibbetts, the Cavs confirmed Tuesday. The Bobcats interviewed Tibbetts last year prior to hiring Mike Dunlap. Dunlap was fired after one season.
— Jason Lloyd
Gallinari’s knee repaired
The Denver Nuggets say forward Danilo Gallinari underwent surgery to repair meniscus in his left knee and will later have another procedure to fix his ACL.
The operation on his meniscus was performed Monday at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo. He will go through rehabilitation on the knee before a date is scheduled to repair the ACL.
Gallinari was hurt on April 4 against Dallas when he planted his left leg awkwardly while going in for a layup. The knee buckled and he went down, screaming in pain.
The Nuggets have missed Gallinari in the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. He averaged career-highs in points (16.2) and rebounds (5.2) this season. He also led the team with 135 3-pointers.
Kidd wins award
New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd has become the first player to win back-to-back NBA sportsmanship awards.
Kidd received 91 first-place votes from league players and 2,474 total points Tuesday to claim the Joe Dumars Trophy in his first season in New York. Kidd won the award last season, his final one in Dallas.
Three-time winner Grant Hill is only other player to win the award multiple times.