The parents of slain college student Matthew Shepard met with Jason Collins on Thursday (27 February) after the NBA’s first openly gay player played his second game for the Brooklyn Nets.
Collins, in the middle of a 10-day contract with the Nets that could be extended, wore a #98 jersey in memory of Shepard who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in 1998.
‘I was in college at the time when [Matthew] was killed,’ Collins told reporters before the game. ‘Of course it’s a tragedy what happened and I just hope it inspires others to come forward. It’s definitely going to be special meeting them after the game and I’m looking forward to it.’
Brooklyn went on to notch a 112-89 win over the Denver Nuggets.
After the meeting with Collins, Shepard’s mom Judi described him as ‘very kind, smart, humble.’
‘It was delightful,’ she added. ‘We were happy to finally have the opportunity to meet.’
Later Collins tweeted: ‘I’m so fortunate to have met Matthew Shepard’s parents and brother tonight after @BrooklynNets win tonight in Denver’
Meanwhile, the #98 Collins jerseys are currently the top-selling item in the Popular NBA Gear category on NBA.com.