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Jason Collins calls support since he came out “incredible”

Apr 30, 2013, 10:41 AM EDT

File photo of Washington Wizards' Jason Collins going to the basket against Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago, Illinois Reuters

Veteran NBA center Jason Collins handled his coming out as gay very well — he wrote a thoughtful piece for Sports Illustrated where he talked about his history, his family and his hopes. Then he stayed out of the public spotlight the rest of the day and let the reaction flow in, letting his piece speak for itself.

But he went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday and said the support he has received was incredible (as reported by the Associated Press).

“It’s incredible. Just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” Collins said. “He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me, said this not only affected my life but others going forward.”

“I think, I know, in my personal life, I’m ready and I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player ,” Collins told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos….

“I hope that every player makes a decision that leads to their own happiness, whatever happiness that is in life,” Collins responded. “I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life.”

And that’s what this should be about — an individual’s right to pursue happiness. We cherish that in the United States and so long as your choices don’t lead to harm to others, you’re given a wide berth to live the way you choose to live. And those choices shouldn’t impact where you get to work — if you’re one of the 450 best basketball players in the world, you should be on an NBA roster.

There are still people who wonder what is going to happen inside an NBA locker room with Collins in it. However, most players who said anything on Monday came out in support of him, and multiple coaches — including Golden State’s Mark Jackson, a preacher with more conservative vies on the issue — said that in the locker room there would not be an issue.

“From my teammates, I’m expecting support because that’s what I would do for my teammates,” Collins told ABC. “A team is like a family. The NBA is like a brotherhood. And I’m looking at it like we all support each other, on and off the court.”

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