Standing in the Wizards' locker room for the first time after being traded to his sixth team, 34-year-old center Jason Collins was under no illusion about how he has managed to remain in the league for so long.
"Twelve years of being able to foul people," Collins said jokingly. "The stats aren't pretty."
It has been a decade since Collins started for the New Jersey Nets in the 2003 NBA finals. He has career averages of 3.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 fouls per game since being drafted 18th overall out of Stanford in 2001.
"I've sort of found my niche role in the league being a low-post defender, go out there and box out, be physical and use all six of my fouls," Collins said. "You can't take them home with you."
He also laughed when he was asked about wearing No. 98, saying it forces the officials to do extra work with their hand signals to the scorers' table.
The move to Washington reunites Collins with coach Randy Wittman, whom he played for in Minnesota, as well as assistants Jerry Sichting and Don Newman, whom he knows from other stops along the way. It won't necessarily translate into much playing time, but that's not what he's expecting anyway.
"They know the kind of player and person I am. They're not asking me to go out there and shoot 3s or bring the ball up the court," Collins said. "If I had to, I could dust that off ... but nah."
- Craig Stouffer