WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers wishes Jason Collins had gotten more rebounds. Jeff Green liked the screens his former teammate set. Jason Terry would love to have Collins’ toughness in the playoffs.
And they’re all happy for Collins after he came out as gay.
None of the Celtics expressed concern Tuesday about having been on the same team as a gay player. They did care about what he did to help Boston win games and about how he might help other gay athletes.
“There are so many professional athletes, there are so many human beings that live a dark life, that are scared to expose it because of the exposure of sports and what people may think about them,” Paul Pierce said. “I think what he did was a great thing just to open the door for a number of athletes who probably now are going to have the courage to come out.”
Rivers said Collins told him he was gay “a couple of days” before his announcement Monday on Sports Illustrated’s website.
“I don’t know if (I was) surprised, or really didn’t care one way or the other,” Rivers said. “It’s a nonfactor to me. And I know it is a factor to a lot of people. I just have never understood why anyone cares about what someone else does.
“He told me he was coming out and I told him, ‘great, you know, good. Let’s move forward.’ And I jokingly said, ‘I wish you could have gotten me more rebounds,’ because that’s all I care about.”
The 7-foot Collins played 32 games for the Celtics in his only season with them. He averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. They traded him on Feb. 21 to Washington, his sixth team in 12 seasons. He played just six games with the Wizards with four points and eight rebounds.