Obama phones Jason Collins, offers support after athlete admits he’s gay

President Obama telephoned professional basketball player Jason Collins on Monday to congratulate him for coming out as the first openly gay player on a major U.S. sports team.

According to a White House aide, the president called Collins Monday evening to express his support and said he was impressed by his courage.

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Collins, 34, is a veteran NBA center who played for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards during the 2012-13 season. He is currently a free agent. In a piece for this week's Sports Illustrated, he admitted to being gay. He cited Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) as inspiring his decision to go public.

"I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay," he said in the self-written article.

Earlier on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney expressed praise from the White House for Collins.


"Here at the White House, we view this as another example of the progress we've made and the evolution that has taken place," Carney said. "We commend him on his courage and support him in this effort and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward."

The response to Collins's announcement was also positive among his fellow NBA players. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were among those who offered Collins their support.