In this file photo, Jason Collins, who announced he was gay, formerly of the New Jersey Nets reacts in Game four of the 2002 NBA Finals against the Los Angleles Lakers. The Lakers swept the series and take the 2002 championship title.
After the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the playoffs on Sunday night, the first round of players met with Lakers management and the media for exit interviews ahead of the offseason. Steve Nash and Metta World Peace were the biggest names scheduled for day one of exit interviews.
The interviews with the media involved discussions about the season, the future, and Jason Collins’ announcement about being gay. Every player asked about the announcement supported Collins said the announcement was a positive decision and would be roundly accepted.
“I think that it’s great that Jason [Collins]’ strong enough to come out. I think he’s going to make a huge impact on a lot of people,” Nash said.
“Whether it is a free country or not, you should be free to act and do what you want to do, as long as it’s not violent,” World Peace said when asked about the decision.
The other looming Lakers offseason topic of discussion was Dwight Howard’s upcoming free agent decision to re-sign with the Lakers or test the waters and leave LA. Jodie Meeks, who was one of Howard’s closes friends on the team this season, was asked about whether Howard had talked to him about the decision.
“I know he loves this city. I know he loves this team,” Meeks said before ultimately clarifying that he was not sure exactly what the Lakers center would do.
Howard will have his exit interview on Tuesday, but he hinted that he would take a couple weeks before commenting on his future in Southern California. “I think I’ve earned that,” Howard said after Sunday’s loss to San Antonio.
Along with Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Mitch Kupchak, and Mike D’Antoni highlight the power-packed interview schedule for Tuesday.
After Tuesday, the Lakers should slowly melt into the sunset for the remainder of the playoffs.