NBA star Jason Collins made history on Monday when he came out as gay in a cover essay penned for Sports Illustrated.
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," the 34-year-old wrote.
"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation," he continued. "I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
It's a huge risk for Collins, especially since he's currently without a job as a NBA free agent. However, he has a lot of support, both from fans and the celebrity community.
"Hey @JasonCollins34 Inspired by your courage and leadership," the comedian tweeted.
"Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU," the Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted.
President Bill Clinton
"I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend," the former president tweeted on Monday. He later added a longer statement.
"I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford," President Clinton wrote. "Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned."
Chelsea Clinton also tweeted about her longtime friend.
"Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA," she tweeted.
"Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)," the openly gay tennis star tweeted. "It's not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn't be an issue, but it is. That's why so many don't do it till after."
"Hey Jason Collins-you are now an activist!!! And trust me, you will sleep a lot better now- freedom is a sweet feeling indeed!"
"The time has come. Maximum respect," the NBA start tweeted.
"Congrats @jasoncollins34!! Giant leap for sports - and the conversation continues!" the gay singer tweeted.
"Jason Collins just did Beautiful Thing. Be Yourself," the director tweeted.
"Big kudos to @JasonCollins34. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability," the NHL star tweeted.
"Proud of Washington Wizards' player Jason Collins ( @JasonCollins34 ) for coming out. we will stand with you as you continue on your journey," the hip hop mogul tweeted.
"Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal," the actor and wrestler tweeted.
"So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!" the former NFL star -- and current talk show host -- tweeted.
"Jason Collins has shown an example of the moral courage that we should all aspire towards...," the Maroon 5 guitarist tweeted.
"I don't know you personally @jasoncollins but... CONGRATULATIONS buddy! You are a brave man! I'm very bappy for you! #NBA #proud," the openly gay singer tweeted.
"Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth," the Miami Heat star tweeted.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Jason Collins
- Chelsea Clinton