Twitterverse Celebrates Basketball Player Jason Collins For Coming Out As Gay [Updated]

Today, basketball player Jason Collins made history by coming out as the first openly gay player in any of the country’s four major professional sports organizations. Since the news broke earlier, Twitter has lit up with support from fellow athletes, coaches, celebrities, elected officials, and others. Here’s a sampling of some of the responses:

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld:

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.

Washington Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis:

Jason Collins made a tremendously brave announcement today.  I spoke with Jason today, right before the Sports Illustrated article broke as a cover story on the web. I listened to him, and heard real strength and grace in his voice. He is a man of high character, a terrific teammate and is quite professional. My message to him was simple:  “I believe what you did in being true to yourself shows integrity and courage, we are proud of you and I support you in every way possible. Good for you.”

Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers:

I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite “team” players I have ever coached. If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be its not up to you, it’s just me being me.

NBA commissioner David Stern:

As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, 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. #NBAFamily

President Bill Clinton:

I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. 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. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

Here at the White House we view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution tha has been taking place in this country, and commend him for his courage and support him in this effort, and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward.


Garrett Temple (Washington Wizards): Much respect to my teammate @jasoncollins34 for being #real

Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards): Proud of @jasoncollins34 for expressing his feelings! Great teammate, mentor and better person !! #liveyourlife !

Martell Webster (Washington Wizards): @jasoncillins34 you have made sports what it should be and that’s “OPEN” proud of you for being you. That’s jump shot is still weak lol.

Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets): Wow this is amazing all smiles.. So so happy Jason Collins came out & announce he was openly GAY ALL SUPPORT OVER HERE #ATHLETEALLY #LGBT

Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers): Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU

Steve Nash (Los Angeles Lakers): The time has come. Maximum respect. RT @Baron_Davis: I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. …

Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers): It’s amazing to see such courage from @jasoncollins34 in today’sannouncement. Myself and the #NBAFamily supports you Jason! / Mucho respeto al valor demostrado por @jasoncollins34 haciendo pública su homosexualidad hoy. La #FamiliaNBA te apoyamos Jason!

Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs): All my respect & support to JasonCollins. Thanks to his courage perhaps someday an athlete’s sexual preference will be irrelevant. Congrats.

Tracy McGrady (San Antonio Spurs): You have to respect Jason Collins for being himself and honest today. Took a lot of courage. Respect to him.. #nba

Baron Davis (Former NBA All-Star): I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. #FTheHaters

John Amaechi (Retired basketball player): Congratulations to Jason – society couldn’t hope for a more eloquent & positive role model.

Billy Bean (Retired baseball player): Huge day for all Athletes !!I am proud of Jason Collins…Just ordered my Wizards jersey !!

Martina Navratilova (Retired tennis player): Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)

Billie Jean King (Retired tennis player): I am thrilled @JasonCollins34 was able to come out on his own terms and, as he put it, is ready to continue (cont)

Brendon Ayanbadejo (Football player): By @jasoncollins34 opening doors & doing it his way on his time he has helped shape a more accepting America. May many more follow #courage

Chris Kluwe (Football player): Big kudos to @JasonCollins34. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability.

Bernard King (Retired basketball player): It is VERY IMPORTANT to be yourself – Jason Collins @jasoncollins34 is being himself – good for him

Jason Kidd (New York Knicks): Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate. @jasoncollins34

Earl J. Watson (Utah Jazz): Great character from a great family! That’s all that matters! @jasoncollins34 #respect

Boston Red Sox: We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.

Nick Swisher (Cleveland Indians): I will always support people for being who they are. Happy for @jasoncollins34 that he can lead an honest life.

Sean Doolittle (Oakland A’s): Good for Jason Collins. He can play for my team aaaanyday……but seriously the Sixers stink. He could totally start at center.

Michelle Wie (Golfer): So proud of my fellow @StanfordAlumni alum @jasoncollins34 !! #equalityforall #brave

Andy Roddick (Tennis player): . Props!  @jasoncollins34

Michael Strahan (Former football player): So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!

Ben Cohen (Former rugby player): Congrats and its Great to see NBA player Jason Collins comes out as gay, first active athlete in the USA big leagues!!! @StandUpFdn

Dick Vitale (Sports broadcaster): @JasonCollins34 has support of many & rightfully so – ppl should be able to live as they desire.  #RESPECT

Bill Simmons (Sports columnist): Happy for @jasoncollins34 – a thoughtful guy + beloved teammate, and now, a role model for so many struggling to come out. Good luck to him.

David Aldridge (Sports reporter): Jason Collins has always been a true professional. Always seek him out on his teams for perspective. Good for him. Hope he is at peace.

Shaquille O’Neal: Character is found in those who lead.  I am so proud of my friend, Jason Collins, for showing all of us what leadership looks like.  #way2go


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): .@jasoncollins34 Thank you for raising your hand. Your courage proves why every American deserves our respect, no matter who they love.

Democratic National Committee Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL): Thanks for your #courage @jasoncollins34

First Lady Michelle Obama: So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! -mo

President Obama’s Organizing for America: Thanks, @jasoncollins34, for your bravery and honesty. OFA supporters everywhere stand with you today.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): V inspired by Jason Collins’s decision to come out. He’ll be such an important role model for our #LGBT youth.

Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA): Jason Collins’ bravery & willingness to be who he is should serve as an example of courage to all – regardless of their sexual orientation.

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO): First #NBA player comes out as gay,An important first for #lgbt athletes …

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ): Great news today – @jasoncollins34 joins out pro women athletes like @brittneygriner & @mpinoe! #bewhoyouare #lgbtathletes

Obama Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett: Just called @NBA center @jasoncollins34. Proud of him for courageously coming out in @SInow.  He’s a role model for countless #LGBT youth.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: Jason Collins = Courage

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D): “I congratulate @jasoncollins34 for his candor & his courage. We look forward to welcoming him home to Boston for the Pride Parade in June.”


Neil Patrick Harris: Bravo, @JasonCollins34! Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that’s saying a lot.

Katie Couric: Today NBA player Jason Collins became 1st active male athlete in major US team sport to come out-congrats!  via @SINow

Chelsea Clinton: Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA.

Alyssa Milano: @jasoncollins34 Woooooohoooo! Congratulations. I applaud your strength and courage. I support who you are without judgement. Proud of you!!!

Rosie O’Donnell: Thank you Jason Collins – for being the first one – knocking down doors !!!

Ricky Martin: I don’t know you personally @jasoncollins but… CONGRATULATIONS buddy! You are a brave man! I’m very bappy for you! #NBA #proud.

Lance Bass: Congrats @jasoncollins34 !! Giant leap for sports – and the conversation continues!

Kathy Griffin: Hey @JasonCollins34 Inspired by your courage and leadership. Read this!

Kerry Washington: “@HRC: RT to congratulate NBA player @JasonCollins34 for his courage to come out” AWESOME! Congrats Jason!

Elizabeth Banks: Amazing story! Thanks brave @jasoncollins34: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Busy Philipps: I’m so impressed with @jasoncollins34 eloquence&bravery. I hope this inspires others who may be struggling … via @SINow

Eric Stonestreet: “@SInow: This week’s cover featuring @jasoncollins34: ” awesome, amazing, game changer.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson: “@TieTheKnotOrg: No words. This rocks. ” @JasonCollins34 is my new favorite person.

Dwayne Johnson: Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal

Russell Simmons: proud of Washington Wizards’ player Jason Collins (@JasonCollins34) for coming out. we will stand with you as you continue on your journey.

Spike Lee: “@Flaker11: @SpikeLee what’s is your take on players announcing they are gay??? Jason Collins just did”Beautiful Thing. Be Yourself.