And help others who haven’t come out.
“I just hope I can give kids in general the confidence to just come out and live their lives and be free,” he said.
Collins made a trailblazing announcement last April when he came out in an interview with Sports Illustrated. In February, he became the first openly gay male athlete in the four major North American pro sports leagues when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
He tweeted that he was “so proud” of Gordon: “Another brave young man who is going to make it easier for so many others to live an authentic life.”
Collins later said after the Nets played the Magic in Orlando that he had spoken with Gordon before the UMass player made his announcement.
“I’ve always said I’m like an added resource to them in their process, especially when it comes to the world of sports and other athletes,” Collins said. “We’re all here to help each other live our authentic lives.”
Sam, projected as a middle-round prospect in next month’s NFL draft, came out in interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports in February after his college career ended.
Sam also tweeted congratulations to Gordon: “You have so many in your corner and we’re all proud and rooting for you.”
Current NBA players Kyrie Irving of Cleveland and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Charlotte played with Gordon in high school.
“I thought it was a great day for him and his family,” Irving said before the Cavaliers hosted the Detroit Pistons. “I’m proud of him. It’s a big step, not only in his life but in his career to get the weight of the world off his shoulders.”
“Derrick was a great teammate and is an even better friend,” Kidd-Gilchrist said before the Bobcats’ game in Washington. “I admire his courage and willingness to share his story.”