David Stern, Bill Clinton react to Jason Collins coming out as gay

Veteran forward Jason Collins made professional sports history as the first active player to come out as gay. 

Collins wrote a Sports Illustrated piece explaining his decision to come out. 

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Collins wrote. "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. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

It's a landmark moment in U.S. sports history, and one that has generated some significant reactions.

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.”

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."

Washington Wizards: "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."

Kobe Bryant: 

Kevin Durant: 

Tony Parker: 

Steve Nash: 

Michael Strahan: 

Spike Lee: 

Kenneth Faried: 

Zaza Pachulia: 

Earl Watson: 

John Amaechi: 

Atlanta Hawks: And from the Hawks: "We have great respect for Jason and his message today. Creating an environment where we support, respect, and accept our players' individual rights is very important to us," said Hawks Managing Partner and NBA Governor Bruce Levenson. "Jason represented everything that we look for as a member of the Atlanta Hawks and we are proud he wore our jersey."

"Our focus will always be on bringing in players that can contribute to the greater good of the Atlanta Hawks and ensuring that we create the most accepting, respectful, and productive environment for players to succeed," said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry.

Doc Rivers: The following statement is from Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers on Jason Collins' announcement today:

“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."

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