Karl Malone proud of Jason Collins

Karl Malone said he's proud of Jason Collins for coming out as the first openly gay active player in one of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues.

"Let's just cut through the skinny ... I'm proud of the young man," Malone said Thursday on the "Bucher & Towney" show with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend on 95.7 FM in the Bay Area. "Isn't it about time that we stopped wasting so much time on what a person prefers?"

Malone also spoke about his gay brother-in-law, as well as former teammate John Amaechi, who first spoke publicly about being gay in 2007 after retiring from the NBA.

"I played with a teammate, John Amaechi, who was gay. He didn't just wake up and say, 'I'm gay today.' He was gay then," Malone said. "Did I ever once feel uncomfortable? Do I feel uncomfortable right now with a gay person in the room? No. I might even joke with them about it ... I would undress in front of them now. I'm not afraid."

Collins announced Monday that he's gay in a story for Sports Illustrated.

"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation," Collins wrote. "I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

The 34-year-old Collins, who is a free agent, finished last season with the Washington Wizards after being traded by the Boston Celtics.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.