John Amaechi happy for Jason Collins

John Amaechi, a former NBA player who came out publicly in 2007 after his playing career was over, says he is happy for Jason Collins.

“I think it’s roundly good news. Jason has been kind of keeping me in the loop so I knew what was happening as it was happening. And I knew he would be very excited about it, and I think it’s a really positive thing,” Amaechi told SiriusXM radio.

“One of the things I’m trying to stress and I think Jason will be saying much of the same is that he was a role model before any of this. He was the kind of student-athlete we wish every person playing basketball or any sport was. He took his studies seriously, he took his responsibility as a human being seriously. ... What he’s doing today is an extension of that, becoming a role model in a really authentic way. But the truth is he’s just another example of the good guys that the NBA has produced.”

Amaechi knows society has a long way to go, but praised the NBA for creating a supportive environment for Collins' debut.

“The NBA and professional sports have always been about bringing together the best professional athletes and putting them in an environment where they can compete against the very best,” Amaechi said.

“That’s what this is an extension of, not trying to be nice to Jason, not trying to be politically correct, but just to say to everyone, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ As long as you’re willing to put the work in; as long as you’re willing to put the hours in; as long as you’re willing to put the effort, in whatever background you come from, there is a place for you in the best league in the world.”