Jason Collins Gets MAJOR Twitter Love From NBA, Clintons, Athletes, Celebs

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NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay in Sports Illustrated today, igniting a flurry of discussion and receiving an outpouring of support online.

"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," he said.

And start it he did. With a few exceptions (Mike Wallace), the vast majority of reactions to Jason Collins' coming out have been positive.

Jason Collins Picture

Check out some of the best celebrity Tweets in support of 34-year-old Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran and member of the Washington Wizards:

Kobe Bryant: Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU

The Rock: Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal

Russell Simmons: Proud of Washington Wizards' player Jason Collins for coming out. We will stand with you as you continue on your journey.

Martina Navratilova: It’s not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. That’s why so many don’t do it till after. Well done Jason Collins - you are a brave man. And a big man at that :) 1981 was the year for me - 2013 is the year for you :)

Lance Bass: Congrats @jasoncollins34 !! Giant leap for sports - and the conversation continues!

Spike Lee: Beautiful Thing. Be Yourself.

Washington Wizards: We are extremely proud of Jason & support his decision to live his life proudly and openly.

Baron Davis: I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. #FTheHaters

Howard Stern: Big support to @jasoncollins34. That's not an easy thing you did.

Steve Nash: The time has come. Maximum respect.

Michael Strahan: So proud of @jasoncollins34 for having the courage to stand up and out for who he is. I support, respect and salute you!!

Human Rights Campaign: RT to congratulate NBA player @JasonCollins34 for his courage to come out!

Bill Clinton: I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. I have known Jason 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.

Chelsea Clinton: Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA.

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. #NBAFamily

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