CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Sports history is made, and it has nothing to do with actual competition.
For the first time, a male gay athlete active in a major American sport has come out: athlete NBA Center Jason Collins.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league was proud that Collins is taking a leadership role on the issue. He made the announcement in a first-person article in Sports Illustrated.
He said he didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport, but that he's happy to start the conversation. He wrote that he wishes somebody else stepped forward first and that it is time for him to raise his hand.
The Gay Games are coming to Cleveland next year, and organizers are praising Collins.
"As someone who played sports, there was no gay or lesbian athlete that was out," said Rob Smitherman, director of sports operations for the 2014 Gay Games. "Then Dave Kopay who was an ex-NFL player that came out in the sports arena. He was great, but there were no role models other than that, and it was hard. Now, things are changing."
President Obama called Collins expressing his support and praising his courage.
Former President Clinton called Collins' announcement an important moment in professional sports. Collins was a classmate of Chelsea Clinton at Stanford.
NBA star Kobe Bryant tweeted his support, writing "Don't suffocate who you are because of the ignorance of others.
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