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NBA donating proceeds of Jason Collins jersey sales to LGBT groups

Friday, February 28, 2014
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David Zalubowski, APBrooklyn Nets center Jason Collins acknowledges the cheers from his teammates after Collins hit a basket against the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter of the Nets' 112-89 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.

David Zalubowski, AP
Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins acknowledges the cheers from his teammates after Collins hit a basket against the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 112-89 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.

NEW YORK — The NBA plans to donate proceeds from sales of Jason Collins jerseys to the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

Collins became the league’s first openly gay player when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, and his No. 98 jersey has been the top seller on NBAStore.com.

Collins chose No. 98 in tribute to Shepard, an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyo., in October 1998.

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On Thursday, Collins met with Matthew’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, and brother Logan when the Nets played in Denver.

Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Sunday, said the chance to meet Dennis and Judy Shepard was “one of those cool treats in life.”

The league said Friday the donations will total no less than $100,000, and it will also auction off Collins’ autographed, game-worn jerseys to benefit the same organizations.

Collins says he is thrilled to help the organizations that “work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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