Players React on Twitter to Jason Collins Coming Out

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2013

Jason Collins, most recently of the Washington Wizards, has openly admitted that he is gay.

Through an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated Monday, Collins became the first male athlete in the history of (major) American sports to come out of the closet while still playing in that particular league:

I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

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. 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.

Collins goes on to admit that he doesn't know what type of reactions his announcement will garner from current NBA players. He refers to himself as a "pragmatist," someone who will hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

His plans for the worst will have to relegated to the backburner, though, as the support he has already received from his peers has been incredible.

Though he is an unrestricted free agent, the Wizards organization released a statement commending Collins for his decision to live "proudly and openly."

The NBA and David Stern released a statement of their own in conjunction with Collins' announcement, emphasizing how proud they were that he has elected to become a pioneer.

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TNT's Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley talked to Anderson Cooper about the announcement, expressing their support and giving thoughts on players being openly gay in sports.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers showed Collins plenty of support while also crucifying the concept of ignorance.

The Black Mamba's teammate, Steve Nash, along with former NBA star Baron Davis, offered nothing but the utmost of respect for Collins as well.

Pau Gasol joined his Hollywood-based comrades, admitting that he was amazed by such dauntlessness.

Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, who grew up in a same-sex household and is a known advocate for gay rights, was one of the most enthusiastic supporters out there.

His endorsement means a great deal, as he has remained outspoken on issues pertaining to gay athletes.

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who has a gay son, was among those who showed support for Collins and his family. He was equally as pleased that the NBA has been receptive to Collins' coming out.

Heat star Dwyane Wade celebrated Collins' bravery and decision to live in "his truth."

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves was another who embraced Jason's divulgence, crediting Collins with helping him make it through his rookie year.

Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant pledged his support to Collins as part of the NBA's "brotherhood."

Former college teammate and current Stanford assistant basketball coach Mark Madsen praised Collins for being a "tremendous human being" and teammate after the news broke.

Rudy Gay, who played alongside Collins for a half season with the Memphis Grizzlies, called him a "true American."

Rookie Royce White of the Houston Rockets, who has spent most of the year enshrouded in controversy of his own, appreciated Collins' willingness to "face stigma" and exude courage.

Damien Wilkins of the Philadelphia 76ers joined the social media support party as well, congratulating Collins while also imploring him (and the rest of the Twitter sphere) to ignore what people think.

Wizards teammate Garrett Temple admired Collins' decision to be real.

Another teammate of his, rookie Bradley Beal, applauded Collins for living his life and being a great mentor.

A third member of the Wizards in Trevor Ariza referred to Collins as a "hell of a teammate."

Yet another teammate, Martell Webster, took to Twitter to glorify Collins. It is his belief that the big man has helped make sports about "what it should be" about. He took the opportunity to call out Collins for his weak jumper as well.

Fresh off sweeping the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker urged everyone to respect Collins for what he did and was hopeful that he would no longer have to fear being who he is.

Retired forward and current ESPN analyst Bruce Bowen appealed to his followers to do the exact same thing.

Zaza Pachulia of the Atlanta Hawks took it a step further, calling Collins "one of the best teammates" he ever had.

Former NBA guard Nick Van Exel also exalted Collins' decision. He made sure to let the league journeyman know that his sexual orientation wouldn't affect how badly he got beat on the golf course, though. 

Earl Watson of the Utah Jazz made it known that the only thing of significance was Collins' character as a person; nothing else.

Toeing along the same line, Jason Kidd of the New York Knicks reiterates that the news doesn't change anything about the kind of person Collins is.

And it shouldn't. He's still the same player, person and friend he has always been. 

That Kidd and a slew of other NBA personalities share that sentiment only makes Collins' coming out more inspirational. And while it was prudent of Collins to prepare for the worst, it doesn't appear that there was a pressing need for him to do so. 

He hoped for the best, and it seems that's what he got.


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