Jason Collins, a player in the National Basketball Association, who at the end of the regular season became a free agent, has announced he is gay.
Collins made the announcement on Monday and said he has received overwhelming support since “coming out” as the first openly gay player in any one of the four major professional sports leagues in the U.S.
Collins, a center in the NBA revealed he was gay via a first-person article posted on the website of Sports Illustrated. In a television interview on Tuesday morning, Collins said he felt the U.S was ready to have a basketball player in the NBA that was openly gay.
Dozens of fellow players in the NBA sent Collins messages after he announced his sexual orientation. Many of the messages were sent over the different social media websites. However, the support sent out to him was not amongst just fellow professional athletes. Collins received a call from the White House in which President Obama offered support.
Collins said the president was very supportive and proud of what Collins had done. Obama told him his decision did not only affect his own life but many others moving forward.
When asked, Collins said he did not know of any other NBA players who were gay. He also said he was shocked by the reaction from Martina Navratilova the tennis legend who is also openly gay. She came out back in 1981 and called Collins a pioneer for going public with his sexual orientation.
He called Navratilova a hero due to the class and dignity she has lived her life with and what she has been able to achieve in life both on the tennis court and off. He called her a role model and hoped he could be someone’s role model one day.