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'Thanks, Jason': Collins' decision to come out as gay greeted by overwhelming support

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    Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash talks to the media at their practice center in El Segundo, Calif., Monday, April 29, 2013. The Lakes lost in the first round of the playoffs to the San Antonio Spurs. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)The Associated Press

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    New York Knicks' Raymond Felton (2) gets a high-five from a teammate as Boston Celtics' Doc Rivers walks onto the court after calling a time out during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, April 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)The Associated Press

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    FILE - In a Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 file photo, Boston Celtics' Jason Collins poses during Celtics NBA basketball media day at the team's training facility in Waltham, Mass. NBA veteran center Collins has become the first male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay. Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday, April 29, 2013 on Sports Illustrated's website. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)The Associated Press

Bill Clinton applauded his courage, Martina Navratilova called him a pioneer and Doc Rivers compared him to Jackie Robinson.

The NBA's Jason Collins said he was gay Monday, becoming the first athlete to come out while actively playing in one of the four U.S. major pro sports leagues.

And publicly, the reaction from the sports world was overwhelmingly positive.

Dozens of NBA players, coaches and executives chimed in to support to Collins, as did players from across the sports landscape.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash summed up the sentiments of many of his fellow athletes when he simply wrote on Twitter, "The time has come."