Obviously, the biggest question about JASON COLLINS coming out is: How will the rest of the NBA react? Now, and down the road, as he signs with a new team, and has new teammates.
Well, the FIRST part is being answered. Since Jason's announcement hit the Internet, current and former NBA players have SHOWERED HIM WITH LOVE . . . pun intended . . . on Twitter. Here are some highlights:
KOBE BRYANT: "Proud of Jason Collins. Don't suffocate who you are because of the ignorance of others."
DWYANE WADE: "Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today, and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth. #NBAFamily."
STEVE NASH: "The time has come. Maximum respect."
JASON KIDD: "Jason's sexuality doesn't change the fact that he's a great friend and was a great teammate." (Kidd and Collins shared a locker room as teammates on the New Jersey Nets for seven years.)
KEVIN DURANT: "As NBA players, this is like a big group of guys, that's like a brotherhood. I support him."
METTA WORLD PEACE: "I've got gay friends, gay people who work for me. It's not like anything out of the norm."
PAU GASOL: "It's amazing to see such courage from Jason Collins . . . myself and the NBA family supports you, Jason!"
SHANE BATTIER: "I only want one thing out of my teammate: A commitment to winning. Whether he is straight, gay, black, white, from Earth, or from Mars is immaterial. Just help us win."
JOE SMITH: "It takes courage to make a statement like Jason Collins. Played with him in Atlanta, and wish him the best. Yessir."
KEVIN LOVE: "Happy for Jason Collins in his decision. A great teammate and friend. Thanks for helping me through my rookie season!! #ClassAct #Courage." (Jason played with him on the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Kevin still plays.)
TONY PARKER: "Really hope people RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is."
BRUCE BOWEN: "Really hope people RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is." (Yeah, he Tweeted the EXACT same thing that Tony Parker did. Hmm. PR firm?)
BRADLEY BEAL: "Proud of Jason Collins for expressing his feelings! Great teammate, mentor and better person!! #LiveYourLife!" !" (Bradley was one of guys Jason got to see naked in the Washington Wizards locker room this season.)
ZAZA PACHULIA: "Jason is one of the best teammates that I've ever had. He was a great presence in the locker room and an even better person. #NBAFamily." (Zaza experienced Jason's great locker room presence on the Atlanta Hawks.)
DAMIEN WILKINS: "Very proud of and happy for one of the coolest and most down to Earth guys I know: Jason Collins. #FWhatPPLThink." (Damien and Jason briefly shared a locker room in Atlanta, while playing together for the Hawks.)
RUDY GAY, the only other known "Gay" in the NBA: Quote, "Happy for my former teammate. A true American. 'Home of the free, because of the brave.'" (Rudy and Jason played together briefly on the Memphis Grizzlies.)
ROYCE WHITE: "As a firm supporter of the LGBT, of course I support and applaud Jason Collins' brave decision. Facing stigma head on, thank you. #BeWell."
MAGIC JOHNSON, who recently supported the coming out of his son: "I know Jason and his family well, and I support him 100%."
KENNETH FARIED, the Denver Nuggets star who recently revealed that he has lesbian moms: "Wow this is amazing, all smiles, so SO happy Jason Collins came out and announced he was openly gay. ALL SUPPORT OVER HERE. #AthleteAlly #LGBT."
MANU GINOBILI: "All my respect and support to Jason. Thanks to his courage, perhaps someday an athlete's sexual preference will be irrelevant. Congrats."
NICK VAN EXEL: "Shout out to my boy, Jason Collins. Stay strong and be blessed. Still going to whoop you on the golf course. LOL."
ROBIN LOPEZ: "Looked up to Jason Collins growin' up in L.A., [and he's] been the best role model from grade school to the NBA. Blessed to know him."
BARON DAVIS: "I'm so proud of my bro Jason Collins for being real. #FTheHaters."
TREVOR ARIZA: "Jason, much respect to you. It takes a strong dude to be the first. You're a hell of a professional, and a hell of a teammate." (Trevor was one of guys Jason played with on the Washington Wizards this season.)
Meanwhile, ANTAWN JAMISON told the paparazzi that HE supports Jason, and would be comfortable being his teammate . . . but he does say there ARE going to be some "close-minded" players who WON'T accept him. (Here's video.)
Jason had this to say in response: He Tweeted, "All the support I have received today is truly inspirational. I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I'm not walking it alone. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me through email, texts, calls, tweets, letters, and every other form of communication. #Support."
Celebrities React to Jason Collins Coming Out
If JASON COLLINS was worried whether or not HOLLYWOOD would accept an openly gay NBA player, it appears that the answer is YES. Here are a few reactions from celebrities on Twitter:
ELLEN DEGENERES: "I'm overwhelmed by your bravery, Jason, and sending so much love."
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: "Bravo, Jason Collins. Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that's saying a lot."
DANE COOK: "A heartfelt congrats to all of major league sports first openly gay athlete, Jason Collins, for 'coming out of the locker room.'" (I think that's a joke?)
MICHAEL STRAHAN: "So proud of Jason Collins for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!"
RUSSELL SIMMONS: "Proud of Jason Collins for coming out. We will stand with you as you continue on your journey."
THE ROCK: "Being real and authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward."
CHELSEA CLINTON, who knew Jason from their time at Stanford: "Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA."
BILL CLINTON: "I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend."
(You can find more, here . . . here . . . and here.)
It Isn't All Love: The Haters Include NFL Wide Receiver Mike Wallace and ESPN Analyst Chris Broussard
With all the love out there for gay NBA star JASON COLLINS, surely there was going to be some hate too, or at least, some UNSUPPORTIVE comments. Here are a few of those:
NFL wide receiver MIKE WALLACE, who just signed with the Miami Dolphins earlier this year Tweeted, "All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys? SMH [shaking my head]." Less than an hour later, Mike deleted that tweet, and replaced it with this "explanation": "Never said anything was right or wrong, I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended."
The Dolphins responded with this statement: "Mike's comments do not reflect the views of the Miami Dolphins. We believe in a culture of inclusiveness and respect, and any statements to the contrary are in no way acceptable to our organization. We will address the entire team about our policy of inclusion and make sure they all understand the importance of respecting individual choices."
For what it's worth, the Associated Press reports that the NFL sent out a memo to teams to REMIND them of their "anti-discrimination policy on sexual orientation." (You can read more about that, here.)
Meanwhile, ESPN analyst CHRIS BROUSSARD blasted Jason's coming out in an episode of "Outside the Lines" yesterday. He said, "If you're openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that that's a sin. If you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ." Chris compared homosexuality to premarital sex and adultery. (So we can look forward to hearing him freak out if an NBA player ever decides to engage in sexual activity before marriage.)
In Jason's article, he said, "My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding."
(Here's video of Chris Broussard's comments. By the way, ESPN later apologized that Chris' comments, "became a distraction." You can read more about that, here.)
The Clear Winner of the Oddest Reaction to Jason Collins' Coming Out: Metta World Peace
METTA WORLD PEACE is cool with JASON COLLINS' sexual orientation. He Tweeted, "I've got gay friends, gay people who work for me. It's not like anything out of the norm." But that's not the weird part. At his press conference yesterday, Metta showed up in a bright blue Cookie Monster shirt, and when he was asked about Jason's announcement, he said this:
"Whether it's a free country or not, you should be free to act as you want to do as long as it's not violent. No matter what it is. I came here in a Cookie Monster shirt because I wanted to. And I was going to wear the pants. But I thought you guys were going to judge me. I was going to wear the hat too. But I thought you guys would judge me, so that's why I didn't wear the hats and the pants. But I should've wore it. You should be free to do and act how you want to act." (Here's a picture of Metta in his Cookie Monster shirt.) (Deadspin)