Sports Illustrated / Getty Images
In a Sports Illustrated story released Monday, Jason Collins became the first pro athlete in a major sport to come out as gay.
The Miami Heat were back at practice Tuesday, and at the top of everyone's mind was Jason Collins' decision to come out as gay in a cover story in Sports Illustrated.
Heat players were universal in their support and praise for Collins, including Mike Miller, who played with him on the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2007-08 season.
"I support him 100 percent," Miller told the South Florida Sun Sentinel Tuesday. "I was happy to be a teammate of his. That's all that really matters."
Miller added that he does not think Collins' sexuality will prevent him from signing a free agent deal this offseason.
"Listen, we come out here to do our job just like everyone else," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're a basketball player or if you're going into an office. It's the same thing."
Shane Battier was similarly positive.
"I support Jason and I applaud him," he said. "I can only imagine how difficult the decision was to make – to make the decision to come out."
LeBron James called Collins' move "very noble."
"I think it's a strong thing to do. As NBA players we're all one family and we support him," James said.
On Monday, when the Collins story broke, Dwyane Wade tweeted, "Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not sound surprised that so many players support Collins.
"The NBA is a fraternity," he told the Sun Sentinel. "It's good to see players in that fraternity support him. The world is changing, and it's not a bad thing."
Regardless of how opposing fans respond to Collins if he plays in the NBA next season, it is clear his fellow players are more than prepared to accept a gay teammate or opponent. Such support could allow for more closeted gay players to come out in the near future.
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