NBA to Donate Jason Collins Jersey Sale Proceeds to Charities

The National Basketball Association will donate to two charities all proceeds from the sale of Jason Collins jerseys, the first openly gay athlete in the big four U.S. sports leagues.

The league said in an e-mailed statement last night that it will give at least $100,000 to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

“I’m thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations,” Collins said in the NBA’s statement.

Collins is wearing jersey No. 98 to commemorate Shepard, who was murdered in 1998 because he was gay. The 7-foot Brooklyn Nets center on Feb. 23 became the first openly gay person to play in the NBA.

Collins wore No. 98 in 38 games for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards last season before telling Sports Illustrated in April that he is gay. He was a free agent and hadn’t signed with another team before joining the Nets on a 10-day contract with 29 games remaining on their schedule.