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Jason Collins honored Matthew Shepard by wearing No. 98

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — NBA veteran Jason Collins changed his jersey number to No. 98 this season.

The number was in silent tribute to Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming college student who was killed in 1998 near Laramie.

Collins this week became the first player still active in one of the four U.S. major pro sports leagues to announced that he was gay.

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, says she is touched that Collins would honor her son that way.

Shepard says she’s happy that Collins feels free to be himself and she’s relieved his announcement is being received so well.

Shepard and her husband have established a foundation based in Denver that seeks to raise awareness about gay issues.

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