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.
– Barack Obama
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].
The aunt of the basketball player Jason Collins - the first openly gay NBA player - has said she is very proud of his decision to come out.
Judge Teri L Jackson told the Associated Press that he comes from a long line of trailblazers,
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.”
Kobe Bryant has expressed his support for NBA player Jason Collins' decision to come out as gay:
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.”