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Jason Collins makes NBA debut with Brooklyn Nets, Twitter responds

The moment Jason Collins took the court for the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 23, he officially became the first openly gay player in the NBA. At the Staples Center in L.A., Collins helped his team achieve a six-point victory over the Lakers. More importantly, the game served as Collins’ official return to the NBA since coming out. Watch the historic moment below:

And as can be expected in today’s Twitter-happy world, celebs and others took to social media to talk about the moment. We’ve rounded up some of the best tweets about Collins’s big day:

Ellen DeGeneres congratulates Jason Collins: 'Be proud of who you are' -- VIDEO

Ellen DeGeneres knows what it’s like to come out in the public eye, which is why she had a few congratulatory words for Washington Wizards basketball player Jason Collins, who just yesterday came out as the first pro athlete in a U.S. team sport to be openly gay.

In the opening monologue for her daytime talk show, DeGeneres talks about how “very brave” Collins is, and in her typical fashion, adds in a few jokes. “He’s seven-feet tall so when he came out of the closet, he had to duck,” DeGeneres said.

She went on to “applaud” the player and offer him a congratulatory hug. “I would high-five you, but I don’t think I could reach you. But when I see you, I’m going to hug your knees so hard.”

But in all seriousness (with a little humor thrown in), DeGeneres added, “You’re an incredible role model. Because of you, there is a little boy playing basketball right now who knows that he can be who he is and play the sport that he loves. Now that little boy’s only obstacle is that he’s going to be 5’4″ and terrible at basketball, but you’ve done your part so…”

DeGeneres wrapped things up with one final sentiment, telling viewers to “be proud of who you are.”

“If you’re gay, it shouldn’t stop you from being anything you want to be, whether it’s a Washington Wizard or a regular wizard,” she said. “So thank you, Jason. You did an incredible thing, most importantly for yourself but also for your sport and for everyone, and I dedicate this dance right here to you.”

Watch the monologue below: READ FULL STORY

Jason Collins on 'Good Morning America': 'I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player' -- VIDEO

Jason Collins became the first openly gay pro athlete in a major U.S. team sport yesterday after his personal revelation in a Sports Illustrated cover story. Today, Good Morning America snagged an interview with Collins to discuss his decision and his amazing last 24 hours. ”[You] just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” said Collins, who spoke to President Obama after his announcement. ”He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me and said that this not only affected my life but others going forward.”

When George Stephanopoulos mentioned tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Collins said he hoped he could be someone’s role model in the same way that she had been for him. Stephanopoulos asked Collins what he would say to a 12-year-old boy practicing basketball now, who happens to be gay. ”It doesn’t matter that you’re gay,” Collins said. ”But a key thing is that it’s about basketball. It’s about working hard. It’s about sacrificing for your team. It’s all about dedication and that’s what he should focus on.”

Collins added, ”But when you finally get to that point of acceptance, there’s nothing more beautiful than just allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin.”

Click below for a video clip:
READ FULL STORY

NBA player Jason Collins comes out: 5 powerful quotes from his 'Sports Illustrated' article

NBA center Jason Collins authored a piece for Sports Illustrated today that began with three very powerful sentences: ”I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Many have noted that this makes Collins the first openly gay male major American professional sports player and Collins explained that this is one of the reasons he felt it was time to speak. Collins wrote eloquently about his journey through the NBA, as well as his journey from keeping a big secret about himself to coming out and feeling comfortable in his own skin. The piece is incredibly honest and raw and Collins’ bravery has been praised all over the Internet this morning. Bill Clinton tweeted ”I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,”  the NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement ending, ”We are proud [Collins] has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue,” and Jason Collins’ Twitter following has skyrocketed from about 4,000 to over 18,000 and growing.

However, along with praise there have been a number of ugly comments as well. The Sports Illustrated comments section is littered with posts of Collins’ ”sins, ”deviance,” and other homophobia. Although now, it looks like comments have been shut off on the story. In his writing, Collins joked ”… if I’m up against an intolerant player, I’ll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.”

The whole editorial is definitely worth a read (click over to SI here), here are five particularly powerful quotes: READ FULL STORY

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