Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jason Collins Wearing Number 98 Jersey In Honor Of Matthew Shepard

Jason Collins will once again don a Number 98 jersey when the Brooklyn Nets take on the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday—the number, which he wore with the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, is in honor of Matthew Shepard, the young gay man brutally murdered in 1998.

“It’s really exciting—I’m really excited for him. To bring Matt’s story into it, to continue to keep Matt’s story out there, it reminds people that this is the kind of thing that happens and is still happening, even if we don’t read about it like we used to,” said Matt’s mother, Judy Shepard, who has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community. “We were very touched. For him to make that tribute to Matt was meaningful to us.”

Matthew shepardCollins had been wearing No. 98 for several years, but its significance only became clear after he came out. He wanted to wear the number at Sunday’s game against the L.A. Lakers, but the team only had one spare jersey on the road, No. 46.

“I was watching Jason and his brother [Jarron] back when they played at Stanford,” says Dennis. “and I remember Judy having a big smile on her face when Jason came out and said why he was wearing 98. By bringing out Matt’s story again, Jason is encouraging others to view people who are different in a new light. He’s also giving a lot of kids out there hope, something to live for.”

The Shepards are planning to make the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Denver on Thursday for a Nets-Nuggets game, but want to keep their attendance low-key.

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