After coming out as the first openly gay active professional athlete from a major sports league, NBA free agent Jason Collins received words of support and encouragement during a phone conversation with President Barack Obama, Mark Knoller of CBS News reports.
In a stirring article written personally by Collins in this week's Sports Illustrated, the longtime NBA big man announced, "I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay."
The response to the news has been overwhelmingly positive in many circles, with NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash taking to Twitter to offer their support in addition to many others.
The President of the United States is among those praising Collins for his courage, as stated in this release from White House chief spokesperson Jay Carney:
We view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place in this country and commend him for his courage and support him.
Collins spent the 2012-13 season playing with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. Around the league, he's known as a consummate professional who plays with effort and demands the respect of those around him. As the first active athlete from the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB to come out, he now demands our respect in an entirely different way.