Twin Brothers Jarron and Jason Collins Look and Play Alike
It hasn't happened since March 1, 2008. But it just might Sunday.
That would be Collins vs. Collins. And Clippers forward Ryan Gomes is ready.
"I'll make sure I definitely get a DVD of that game,'' Gomes said. "They should pay-per-view it. They do it with Manny Pacquiao. But they need to put this one out.''
OK, so Gomes is joking. But it still would be fun to watch if Clippers reserve center Jarron Collins and his twin, Atlanta backup pivot Jason Collins, battle each other at the Staples Center for what would be the 11th time in their NBA careers.
They're both 10-year veterans from Stanford, but they usually have been in opposite conferences, meaning their teams usually meet just twice a season. Throw in some DNP-CDs (for you novices, that's "did not play - coach's decision") for each, and their meetings have been further limited.
When they do face each other, it's like one is playing against himself.
"In Utah, they used to have the players do the scouting reports,'' said Jarron, who played with the Jazz from 2001-09. "When we played (Jason's team), I would always have to give a scouting report on my brother. And I'd always be like, 'He's an inside banger, a physical screener, flops around the basket, takes charges.' As soon as I got to three or four down the list, everybody starts laughing because I'm basically describing myself. Our games are so similar and teams always get a chuckle about seeing us out the court and hearing us talk because both of us have the same voice.''
Other than perhaps the Van Arsdales, with Tom and Dick both playing from 1965-77, the NBA never has seen a pair of twins as identical as the Collinses. The NBA has another current set in New Jersey's Brook Lopez and Phoenix's Robin Lopez, but the latter's wild hair makes it easy to tell the two apart. The NBA once had Horace and Harvey Grant, but the latter was easily distinguishable due to his slighter frame and spindly legs.
But you've got to be on your toes to tell the Collins twins apart.
"I would say at least twice or three times a day,'' Jarron said of somebody calling him Jason. "Jason is easier to pronounce than Jarron. Some people will come up to me every now and then and say, 'Are you Jason or are you the other one?'''
There was a bit of relief in that area last season.
"Last year, he was like 30 pounds heavier and the running joke was, 'Damn, it looks like your brother ate you.''' Jarron said of Jason. "He's in much better shape now.''
Indeed, Jason is. He said he's down to 255 pounds, five more than Jarron weighs.
"I worked hard this summer for us to actually look like twins again,'' Jason said.
Jason is listed at 7-foot and Jarron at 6-11, but their mother, Portia Collins, has said they're the same height. In fact, there's a lot of sameness in these guys.
Jason's career NBA scoring average is 4.0 and Jarron's 3.9. In the 10 previous games the two battled, Jarron scored 38 points and Jason 37, with each player on the winning side five times.
"Get ready for a high-scoring affair (between the two),'' Jason cracked about Sunday's meeting.
If you get the idea these two 32-year-old backup bangers (Jason is eight minutes older) don't mind laughing at themselves, you're right. In fact, they spent their childhood engaging in plenty of antics.
While growing up in the Los Angeles area, the two at times would switch places in class to get some chuckles out of fellow students as they waited to see if the teacher would notice. Once, there was an unexpected development.
"We did it in high school (at North Hollywood), and I'm in his class and all of a sudden we were getting ready to take a pop quiz,'' Jarron said. "So everybody is laughing and joking. So I said, 'I got to go to the bathroom.' I had to find my brother because I'm not going to take this quiz for him.''
Jason laughed when also recalling that story.
"I was a better student than him and I definitely would not want my brother to take a test for me,'' said Jason, who at least gives props to Jarron in another area, calling him a "better flopper." "He might have liked me to take a couple of tests for him.''
On the court in high school, if one player was in foul trouble and got another whistle, the other sometimes would raise his hand in an attempt to get the foul. But Jason admitted that didn't work too well.
Because the two have such similar voices, there were times when one would pretend to be the other in a phone conversation with a date.
"You'd just say, 'Uh, huh, OK, Good,''' Jarron said. "You'd just keep the answers real short.''
Even to this day, those pranks have continued. Jarron is married to Elsa, with two children, while Jason is single.
"If Jarron is over at my house and his wife calls, I'll try to pretend that I'm him every now and then,'' Jason said. "It might work for a short period of time. Then, after a while, she gets mad.''
The twins are very close. They talk at least once every day. They have offseason homes 10 minutes apart in the Los Angeles area.
One will attend the other's playoff games, if possible. They regularly vacation together, having gone last summer to France, Spain and Italy.
While in Italy, the two ran into Magic Johnson. And, no, he couldn't tell them apart.
"He just said, 'Twin,''' Jason said. "I don't think he can tell (the difference).''
Plenty of players get the two mixed up. Since seeing them at AAU tournaments in the 1990s, Hawks guard Jamal Crawford has continued to call both "Twin,'' which actually is Jason's nickname. Jason said it was created out of necessity when he played for the Nets from 2001-08, and the team had a slightly more prominent Jason, as in Kidd.
As a Clippers assistant, Marc Iavaroni now works with Jarron. He was Memphis' head coach when Jason played the second half of the 2007-08 season with the Grizzlies.
"Sometimes I'll call him Jason,'' Iavoroni said of practices with Jarron. "He doesn't say anything. He's used to it.''
Jarron has three Clippers teammates who also have played with Jason. Gomes, Randy Foye and Craig Smith all were with Minnesota when Jason was there in 2008-09.
"It's hard to tell them apart,'' Gomes said. "They both come on the (team) plane with their iPods, their laptops, their PSPs (PlayStation Portables), all the gadgetry, their movies. ... Their mannerisms and stuff are all the same. Just because I played with both of them, I wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Maybe I would after a while. But maybe, if I would see them out at a restaurant, I'd be like, 'Who was that? Was that Jarron or was that Jason?'
"A few times in practice, I'll make a pass and say, 'Hey Jason. I mean, Jarron. That was to you.' It just happens because I was with Jason before. I think I just got to say 'JC' now.''
For those who are confused, Jarron offers a sure-fire way to tell the two apart from close range: Jarron has a chicken-pox scar on his forehead.
As for Sunday at the Staples Center, it will be much easier. Jarron will wear No. 31 and be clad predominately in white. Jason will don No. 34 and be predominately in blue.
No doubt Gomes will want to watch the replay in high definition.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson