The controversial group, led by Reverend Fred Phelps and known for its anti-gay and anti-America messages, posted on its website that its members would join the ranks of the NBA to teach the "ball cupping sodomites" an understanding of God.
Phelps called Collins' decision to come out an "open rebellion against the Lord and all decency in the world."
"There was a time in my life when I foolishly thought basketball was a lot like Iran -- a devout but belligerent realm devoid of gays," Phelps wrote. "And with all the blacks in the sport, probably Islamic too."
Despite admitting his initial ignorance in this presumption, Phelps confessed that the sport had always unsettled him, referencing the "womanish" nature of a game in which participants "mince about a school gymnasium, scantily clad in tank tops, short shorts and designer footwear, handling each other's balls."
"The NBA is a mockery of America's grandeur and God's patience," Phelps stated on his website. "Lest we forget, this is the house of cards Dennis Rodman built and then defecated on with his transvestism and outlandish gender-bending antics. He perverted an American institution by turning it into a David Bowie concert without music. Then Mrs. Rodman went to befriend our enemies in North Korea, defecating on America itself. So apparently, basketball is the sport of scat queens and traitors."
Phelps warned his followers to beware basketball's dangerous, homoerotic symbolism, citing men who "love nothing more than to hold balls in their hands."
He described the mechanics of the sport as encouraging players to "stuff their balls into a puckered metal and netting sphincter, while trying not to double dribble. It's aberrant and disgusting, this obscenely choreographed pantomime of sodomy."
Unlike the other public gatherings Westboro typically protests, such as celebrity and military funerals, a major sporting event poses unique logistical challenges for the church. Phelps emphasized the need to deploy out-of-the-box strategies.
"This is a paid venue, so we can't just march into the arena with our banners and signs," Phelps explained. "We'd have to purchase tickets, and we don't have that kind of capital available. So we've decided to start our own team and hit the NBGay from inside."
Phelps harbors no illusions about his team's chances against skilled, highly trained athletes. But that's not his goal.
"Without a doubt, the Westboro Baptist Church will lose every single game we play," Phelps told his followers. "But every game we lose for the sport is a game we win for morality. Our presence there, and the messages we shall deliver, will make us champions. Our losses on the court will become victories for God. Who, I remind you, hates fags and the NBGay."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.