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 SentinelTuesday. "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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