Most Suns fans know Jarron Collins as a hard-working and polite reserve that is known for his stingy defense and ability to rebound. But because of his lack of self-promotion, few would know that Collins is well-connected to one of America’s most powerful political families.
Collins, who graduated from Stanford in 2001, was in the same class of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea. During his tenure at the prestigious college, Chelsea became close with Collins’ then-girlfriend and current wife, Elsa.
“We (Chelsea and I) shared two classes together, but the connection was really through my wife,” Collins said. “Their family (the Clintons) is very warm and inviting. She’s such a nice person that anybody would be lucky to consider her a friend.”
Since graduation, Chelsea, Jarron and his wife have remained so close that Chelsea was invited to take part in their wedding. Even as recently on the Suns’ road trip to New York, Chelsea and her boyfriend joined Jarron and Elsa for dinner.
In fact, Elsa, who according to her husband is normally not politically-driven, helped campaign for Hillary as she attempted to secure the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008.
“She actually flew out to Nevada to do some stumping,” Collins said.
An urban studies major at Stanford, Collins currently has no political ambitions and counts members of both major parties as his friends. A self-described “middle-of-the-road moderate,” Collins considers his support for the Clintons akin to “helping out a family friend.”
His first encounter with former President Bill Clinton occurred after the former President watched him play in a game at Stanford. He was taken aback by the former Commander and Chief’s knowledge of the game.
“Bill Clinton is a huge basketball fan,” Collins said. “The first time I met him he came up to me to have a conversation and he was talking about our defensive rotations, substitution patterns and things like that.”
Collins met him while he was serving his second term as President and said that his charismatic reputation is well-deserved.
“Of course you are a little in awe of meeting the President, but he makes you feel so relaxed,” Collins said. “He comes up, he has a smile on his face and he’s very engaging. He makes people feel comfortable regardless of their views.”
Despite his political connections and knowledge of current events, you won’t hear much political chatter coming out of the 6-11 center or many other Suns players for that matter.
“You try not to talk about religion and politics in the locker room,” he said. You leave that out of there.”