By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com February 26 2014 1:39 PM ET
If jersey sales are any indication, Jason Collins is currently the most popular player in the NBA, reports CNN.
Collins’s number 98 Nets jersey , which he will debut when the Nets take on the on the Nuggets Thursday night in Denver, is now the biggest seller on NBA.com — outselling jerseys of the sport’s most popular players, such as LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Durant.
Collins revealed that he chose number 98 as a tribute to Matthew Shepard, the gay college student whose murder in 1998 fueled the adoption of hate-crime laws and became a watershed moment for the LGBT movement.
Collins made history Sunday when he signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and became the first openly gay athlete in any men’s major league team sport. That night, in his first NBA appearance since coming out last April, Collins helped his new team defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-102 with two rebounds and a steal.
While it is still uncertain whether Collins will continue to play for the Nets or another team when his contract ends, it is clear that the out athlete’s popularity has never been greater.