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Jason Collins wondering why no NBA team wants the first openly gay player

'I feel there are players in the league right now that, quite frankly, I’m better than'

Jason Collins has broken his silence about not yet being signed to an NBA team.

The veteran center, who came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover story last spring, does not directly say whether he believes his coming out is playing a role in his not being picked up as a free agent.

'You don’t want to speculate - I don’t go there,' he tells The New York Times.

But he is perplexed.

'I feel there are players in the league right now that, quite frankly, I’m better than,' he says.

Collins, 34, has never been a major NBA star but his career has lasted for 12 years during which he has played for six teams including the Washington Wizards last year.

Through it all, he has always been considered a pro's pro.

'Sure, I’ve picked up another title (as a gay man). But I feel that’s always who I’m going to be - that person who sets a good example, who represents the sport and is an asset to my team and a role model for other players,' he says.

Collins' agent received inquiries from three NBA teams over the summer but at least one team, the Detroit Pistons, settled on a player who is less expensive than the minimum of $1.4 million that Collins must be paid.

'The NBA is for the best players, not for the most affordable players,' says Collins who lives in Los Angeles and continues to train six days a week.

Of the possibility of playing abroad at this point in his career Collins says: 'I’m an NBA player. I want to play in the NBA I just have to stay in this mode of handling this test, of having patience. You know, I have faced worse in my life.'

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