By Troy Espera, ABS CBN North America Bureau

Redwood City, Calif — From the hard court to the highest office in the land, veteran NBA center Jason Collins said he’s gotten incredible support for coming out as gay — making history as the first pro athlete in a major US sport to do so.

Just a day after Sports Illustrated published Collins’ first person account of being a gay NBA player, dozens of athletes and high profile Americans sent Collins messages of support.

First Lady Michelle Obama and LA Lakers Kobe Bryant took to the twitter to show Collins’ that they have his back.

But the highest praise came from the top when former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama each called Collins to say how proud they are of him.

In a news conference, Obama recounted how he told US basketball player that he “couldn’t be prouder of him” for coming out as gay while playing in a major sports league.

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

“I think, a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues to see a role model like that who is unafraid, I think it’s a great thing,” the president said.

Athletes at Stanford University, where Collins previously studied, largely welcomed the news.

“I’ve just been wondering what the reaction around the league is going to be really, and how other players are going to maybe treat him differently. Hopefully not,” said Stanford American football player, Alex Frkovic.

“I don’t think it should be made into a huge deal since it’s who he is, and we should all accept that,” said Stanford football (soccer) player Maya Theuer.

Collins finished this season with the Washington Wizards, travelling, practicing, playing, dressing and hanging out with the same men, day after day after day.

They had no idea he was gay.

He also played with the Boston Celtics earlier this season, his 12th as a professional National Basketball Association (NBA) play.

-with reports from the Associated Press

2 Comments on this post.

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  • noz
    2 May 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    the obamas should be the happiest parents the day any of their daughters come out of the closet. so the revelation of an athlete sexual orientation to be crooked, not straight are being praised by the famous headed by obama, for what?, the nation must hug him? like he’s

  • noz
    2 May 2013 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    continue……some kind of a hero? there are many forgotten heroes much deservings of attentions.