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LOS ANGELES — Jason Collins, a 35-year-old center, signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Sunday afternoon, putting him back in an NBA uniform for the first time since last spring, when he announced that he was gay.
The signing represents a significant step toward transforming North American professional sports into a more welcoming environment for gay athletes. Entering Sunday night, no NBA game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL — the continent’s other three traditional major sports leagues — have also never had a publicly gay participant.