Jason Collins to Wear #98 With Nets in Tribute to Matthew Shepard

Jason Collins will wear No. 98 with the Nets in a tribute to slain gay college student Matthew Shepard.

Collins is currently under a historic 10 day contract with the Nets.

The New York Daily News reported:

Judy Shepard will be in Denver on Thursday night, about a two-hour drive from where her son, Matt, was brutally murdered in a gay hate crime 16 years ago.

The Nets also will be in Denver on Thursday for their game against the Nuggets, and Judy says she has a warm welcome for Jason Collins if they cross paths.

“I’m just happy for him. It’s wonderful that he’s playing again. I’d tell him thank you and give him a big hug. I have not met him but everyone I know that has has said he’s a gentleman, kind and generous. I’d like very much to thank him and congratulate him.”

Collins plans to wear No. 98 starting Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, a tribute to Matthew Shepard, who was killed in 1998 because he was gay. The brutal nature of Matt’s murder — he was beaten, tortured and left to die hanging on a fence — and the conviction of two men developed into a “watershed moment for the gay community,” as Judy explained, and a “wakeup call” to the rest of America that led to changes in hate crime legislation.

Although the left frequently reports Matthew Shepard’s death was a hate crime, gay author Stephen Jimenez believes he was murdered by his bisexual lover who was strung out on meth.