NBA Center Jason Collins Comes out as First Openly-Gay Pro Athlete

With two words -- "I'm gay" -- NBA player Jason Collins made sports history Monday, drawing surprise and praise from fans, ex-teammates and even a former president.

"Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community," said a statement from Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea has been friends with Collins since their days at Stanford University.

"It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities."

On her Facebook page, Chelsea Clinton said she was proud of her pal "for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA."

Collins, 34, is now the first openly gay male athlete from a leading American professional team sport. He came out in the pages of Sports Illustrated in a first-person essay.
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," he wrote.

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