Jason Collins Calls Support for His Coming Out 'Mind Boggling' in 'GMA' Interview
The NBA player, who became the first openly gay male pro team sports athlete on Monday, told the ABC morning show about his phone call with President Obama and explained how he decided to come out.
Jason Collins spoke to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday, marking his first interview since announcing in Sports Illustrated that he is gay -- an historic occasion that made him the first openly out male pro team sports athlete in history.
Collins' cover story dominated the media on Monday, with celebrities, gay activists and politicians announcing their support for his bold step. Among the public backers was President Barack Obama, who spoke with Collins by phone on Monday night.
"He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me," Collins said. "And said that this not only affected my life, but others. And he really stressed the importance of that. That it-- it-- yes, I did this-- you know, to affect, you know, change in my life, but that it affects other people-- going forward."
One of the biggest questions surrounding Collins' announcement -- and the seismic shift it marks for pro sports -- is how teammates and other athletes will respond to him. Stars such as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash tweeted their backing for Collins, and he reported many other personal conversations that relayed similar messages. Now a free agent after ending the season with the Washington Wizards, Collins says that he's confident his basketball skills will shine through.
"You know what? That's why I have a great agent in Arn Tellem," he said, laughing. "And he's going to be hard at work this offseason, you know, when free agency starts. And I want to be judged on my 12 year NBA career. I have a lot of teammates. A lot of coaches who I spoke to today supporting me. And, you know, I want to be judged on, my professional achievements in the past and everything else is, your private life is your private life. And that's what, the way I want to keep it."