- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

PRO BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in the United States four major pro leagues on Sunday, playing 10 scoreless minutes with two rebounds and five fouls in the Nets’ 108-102 victory of the Lakers.

Collins signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn earlier Sunday and coach Jason Kidd said he would play in their game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The 35-year-old center revealed at the end of last season he is gay, but he was a free agent and had remained unsigned.

Collins was aware of the magnitude of his signing, but repeatedly said he was most concerned with learning the Nets’ schemes.

“The pressure is playing in an NBA game tonight and last time I played in an NBA game was last April,” Collins said. “So I think that’s enough pressure right there.”

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Knicks are preparing to buy out the contracts of veterans Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih.

Neither player was available Saturday for the Knicks’ 107-98 loss in Atlanta.

World Peace wrote on his Twitter account earlier Saturday that his agent was working on a buyout and thanked fans and the city.

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AUTO RACING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -Dale Earnhardt Jr. persevered through rain and wrecks to win NASCAR’s signature event on Sunday.

Stock car racing’s most popular driver won the Daytona 500 for the second time, a decade after his first victory in the “Great American Race.”

Earnhardt snapped a 55-race winless streak that dated to 2012. It ended a streak of futility at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished second in three of the previous four 500s.

He radioed to his crew “this is better than the first one,” as he circled the track on his cool-down lap in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Rain stopped the race about 45 minutes after it began for a delay of more than six hours. When it resumed, Earnhardt dominated at the track where his father was killed in an accident on the last lap of the 2001 race.

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