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Jason Collins tells 'GMA' he's 'the happiest that I've ever been'

April 30, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • NBA center Jason Collins, left, spoke to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Monday night after becoming the first active male athlete in a pro team sport to publicly come out as gay.
NBA center Jason Collins, left, spoke to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos… (Eric McCandless / Associated…)

NBA center Jason Collins had a pretty incredible day on Monday. Sure, there was that little announcement he made that sent shockwaves around the country and lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.

Plus, it's not every day the average citizen gets a call from the U.S. president.

ā€œIt's incredible," Collins told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday night that aired Tuesday morning on "Good Morning America." "Just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you.ā€

Of course, it's not every day that a pro athlete comes out publicly as gay. In fact, when his self-penned essay for Sports Illustrated hit the Internet on Monday, Collins became the first active male athlete in a major professional team sport to openly admit he's gay.

"I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I've ever been in my life," Collins said. "A huge weight has been lifted. I've already been out to my family and my friends, but just to, you know, sort of rip the Band-Aid off and come out on my own terms."

He added that "there's nothing more beautiful than just allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin."

Since making the announcement, Collins has received a tremendous amount of support, including messages from dozens of NBA players. "I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player,” he said.

Collins, who said that he doesn't know of any other players in the league who are gay, added that he expects the positive feelings from his teammates and fellow players to still be there the next time he steps on the court.

“From my teammates, I'm expecting support because that's what I would do for my teammates,” said Collins, a 12-year veteran who played for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards this season but will become a free agent this summer. “A team is like a family. The NBA is like a brotherhood. And I'm looking at it like we all support each other, on and off the court.”

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