There has been an outpouring of support since NBA player Jason Collins came out. It has been amazing and at times astonishing seeing so much love being shown as this man takes a step forward showing the true complex nature of the LGBT community. And from celebrities to even President Obama and the White House being very vocal in their support has been incredible. And Ellen Degeneres, who came out very publicly 16 years ago had some choice words for Collins’ monumental moment. Here’s more:
Eleven-year NBA veteran Jason Collins made history by coming out in a Sports Illustrated editorial that will appear in the sports magazine’s May 6, 2013 issue, but hit the digital version on April 29. He became the first American male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay.
Ellen DeGeneres had a special message for Collins during her show. The comedian made light of the inspirational news, saying that it was more challenging for Collins to come out of the closet because he’s seven feet tall.
“So when he came out of the closet, he had to duck,” DeGeneres joked.
She then followed the joke by applauding the Washington Wizards player and commended him for his bravery: “You’re an incredible role model. Because of you, there’s a little boy playing basketball right now who knows that he can be who he is and play the sport that he loves.”
If anyone knows the attention and impact that an announcement like this can have on someone’s life, it’s Ellen. And doing so during a time where homosexuality was still openly persecuted and ridiculed it goes to show that though we’ve made progress, we still have much more road to travel. But it’s moments like this when we are able to see mirrored situations in which the outcome and support is vastly different that we can appreciate how much work has been done.