Collins meets with parents of Matthew Shephard after Denver game

Feb. 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM
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DENVER, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins says his jersey No. 98 took on added meaning after meeting in Colorado with the parents of slain gay student Matthew Shepard.

Dennis and Judy Shephard were present at Thursday's game between the Nets and the Denver Nuggets and met briefly with him afterward, the Boston Globe reported Friday.

Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player, wears 98 in memory of Shephard, who died in 1998.

"I am very honored," Collins said before the game of a comment by Dennis Shephard that Matthew would have liked him.

Sales of the No. 98 jersey got a bump after Collins announced last week he was gay. He said the popularity of the jersey was significant because "it's a tribute to Matthew Shephard and also the year 1998."

The Shephards and Collins talked for about 15 minutes after the game in what he said was an unplanned meeting. Afterward, Collins gave them his No. 98 jersey.

Shephard, a student at the University of Wyoming, was attacked Oct. 6, 1998, and tied to a fence. He died six days later from head injuries.

Brooklyn beat Denver 112-89.

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