NBA center Jason Collins came out as gay in an essay written for an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, and celebrities and professional athletes have taken to their Twitter accounts to post their support.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” the 12-year veteran writes. “But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.”
Collins started his career with the New Jersey Nets in 2001 and most recently played for the Washington Wizards.
Past and current NBA players, including his twin brother Jarron Collins, as well as celebrities, athletes and organizations have tweeted their support for Collins, who is currently a free agent.
— jarron collins (@jarronctwin) April 29, 2013
— Garrett Temple (@GTemp14) April 29, 2013
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) April 29, 2013
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
— Baron Davis (@BaronDavis) April 29, 2013
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 29, 2013
— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) April 29, 2013
— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) April 29, 2013
So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!
— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) April 29, 2013
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) April 29, 2013
Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 29, 2013
proud of Washington Wizards' player Jason Collins (@JasonCollins34) for coming out. we will stand with you as you continue on your journey.
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 29, 2013
NBA commissioner David Stern released a statement of support, saying:
As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” Stern said. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.
Former president Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton both tweeted their support. Collins and Chelsea Clinton attended Stanford University together.
I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. http://t.co/4gbxjV1z7o
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) April 29, 2013
Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA. http://t.co/f1VQFSsSkJ
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 29, 2013
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.