Obama 'proud' of gay NBA star

US President Barack Obama has told US basketball player Jason Collins that he "couldn't be prouder of him" for coming out as gay while playing in a major sports league.

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Obama 'couldn't be prouder' of Collins for coming out

US President Barack Obama has told US basketball player Jason Collins that he "couldn't be prouder of him" for coming out as gay while playing in a major sports league.

Obama says Collins highlights the progress the United States has made in recognising that people of all sexual orientations are equal.

I told him I couldn't be prouder of him. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender) community deserves full equality, not just partial equality.

An individual who has excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go ahead and say that 'This is who I am. I'm proud of it. I'm still a great competitor. I'm still seven foot tall and can bang with Shaq.' [retired US basketball star, Shaquille O'Neal].

– Barack Obama

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Washington Wizards: Collins is a 'positive role model'

Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza Credit: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfield has released a statement on behalf of the team:

“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly.

"He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career.

"Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”

NBA Commissioner: 'We are proud of Jason Collins'

NBA Commissioner David Stern has reacted to the news that Jason Collins has come out as gay, saying in in a statement:

"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.

"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.”

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