NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out, Twitter Erupts

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Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, Spike Lee, NBA react to Jason Collins news

NBA player Jason Collins came out Monday, becoming the first openly gay male athlete in a professional sport.

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Collins, a member of the Washington Wizards, wrote in an op-ed in Sports Illustrated. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."

If the intention was to get people talking, Collins was certainly successful. Reaction to the history-making announcement was swift and intense as social media sites like Twitter erupted minutes after the NBA center went public with the news.

Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, a friend from Collins' undergraduate days at Stanford University, were just a few of the big names offering their support to the athlete, whose announcement is another indication that old prejudices against homosexuality are beginning to erode.

Collins' twin brother Jarron is also an NBA player.

Here's a look at some of the statements being made in the wake of Collins' coming-out essay.

Kobe Bryant, ‏@kobebryant

Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU

Bill Clinton, @billclinton

I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. http://wjcf.co/154piCi

Chelsea Clinton, @ChelseaClinton

Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA. http://bit.ly/ZLei9F

Ellen DeGeneres, ‏@TheEllenShow

@NBA center @JasonCollins34 is the 1st out player on a US major league team. I'm overwhelmed by your bravery, Jason, & sending so much love

Spike Lee, @SpikeLee

Orange And Blue Skies Salutes Jason Collins. Thank You For Your Courage,A Slam Dunk Against HOMOPHOBIA.And Dat's Da "FREEDOM"Truth,Ruth.

Michael Ian Black, comedian, @michaelianblack

In light of @jasoncollins34 courageous decision, I would like to make myself available to all inconsolable females.

Bill Simmons, Grantland editor-in-chief, @BillSimmons

Happy for @jasoncollins34 – a thoughtful guy + beloved teammate, and now, a role model for so many struggling to come out. Good luck to him.

Adam Shankman, "Hairspray" director, ‏@adammshankman

Wait!! Is it true @jasoncollins34 just came out as BLACK?!?!? #whaaaaaaatttt?

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.

Martina Navratilova, ‏@Martina

It’s not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. That’s why so many don’t do it till after.