It's been a tremendous week for Jason Collins. As we all know, Collins opened up about his sexuality in an article in Sports Illustrated on Monday. Since then, Collins's news has been met mostly with positivity, and he has repeatedly shared his appreciation of all the support he's been receiving.
As much praise as he's been getting this week, Collins has also been generously praising his family, friends, teammates, and heroes. He spoke at length with Bill Simmons on the BS Report about his decision to come out and about his life and role in the NBA. Not surprisingly, Collins's positive attitude translated into positive regard for his time in the league -- especially about his time with the Nets, Celtics, and Wizards.
Collins talked fondly about his days playing alongside Jason Kidd -- who he names as the best player he has played with in his career -- and of how playing with great point guards helped him grow as a player. The last name should ring a bell (emphasis mine).
Jason Collins: Anytime you play with a great point guard, the Rondos or the Jason Kidds of this world, they make you look so much better than you really are. You just catch the ball and score. It's pretty simple. They'll put you in the position, and they'll make the adjustment. And now, it's John Wall.
Grouping Kidd, Rondo, and Wall in the same category of court vision and intelligence carries a lot of weight coming from someone that has been a reliable contributor in the league for 12 seasons.
Later on in the interview (around the 57:30 mark), Simmons and Collins talk about Rajon Rondo's sense of humor, his prowess with Connect Four and his basketball I.Q., and the conversation steers into some high praise of the Wizards. The partial transcript is below:
Bill Simmons: Did you get a handle on Rondo after five months? Everybody says he's kinda like a genius.
Jason Collins: Sometimes during practice, Doc [Rivers] would let the players draw up the plays, because he wants guys thinking. And Rondo would draw up some great plays.
JC: Yeah. I really gained an appreciation for his court-awareness on both ends of the court. Offensive and defensive, and the way he thinks the game. And along those same lines is John Wall.
BS: JOHN WALL? I NEVER would have guessed that.
JC: Yeah, exactly. But he really thinks the game. And, for a young player to already start to develop that sense of your awareness on the court and be able to anticipate what different plays are and where different players are going to be, you know he really impressed me with his court awareness.
BS: So you like the John Wall-Bradley Beal combo? Because I love Bradley Beal. Too bad he got hurt, because he was just coming on.
JC: Yeah. And a lot of that is just your body might not be used to playing so many games and stuff like that. But he's going to be--they're going to be a tremendous backcourt going forward. Because, I remember that with Jason Kidd was finding someone -- we had Kerry Kittles -- because J Kidd and Jonn Wall are similar. They push the ball up the court so fast, you gotta have somebody, and Bradley can run with him. It's fun to watch. And you don't want to leave him open. He can shoot the ball.
BS: You also played with Okafor on that team. Who is considered one of the league's most cerebral players. Do you guys have like a cerebral-off? Was there a cerebral world series?
JC: No, no. We didn't have a book club or anything like that [they both laugh]. We were actually talking about when he was getting recruited to Stanford and something happened and he was like "No, I'm not going to go there." And I was like "Man, we would have, that would have been awesome." But Emeka, he's a great team leader. Great locker room guy.
BS: That's why they traded for him.
JC: Yeah, he's a guy who isn't afraid to say what needs to be said in a locker room. And also lead by example. But the Washington Wizards, I really enjoyed my time in D.C. Great group of guys, great organization. Great city. Lot of stuff to do in DC.
BS: That's a team that really made an effort to change its culture, too.
JC: They needed to.
BS: Because they had some incidents, and they get Okafor, they get you, it seems like they're headed in the right direction.
Collins also discusses his decision to come out, playing defense in the NBA, and how he learned to set a certain type of "legal" screen from Kevin Garnett. You can check out the whole interview here. It's definitely worth your time.