Updated 07:24 AM EST, Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant React to Jason Collins' First Game as Openly Gay Player

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Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to compete not only in the National Basketball Association (NBA) but also in the four major North American professional team sports Sunday night.

Collins made history when he played 11 minutes during Brooklyn Nets' 108-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center Sunday night. The 13-year-veteran received a round of applause from the Lakers' crowd when he entered the game at the 10:28 mark of the second quarter.

The 35-year-old center went scoreless for the game, but grabbed two rebounds and made defensive stops during the final quarter that helped the Nets seal their 26th victory this season.

Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin said that Collins' historic feat on Sunday is a big step in the evolution of professional sports.

"I think it's definitely a big step," Lin told ESPN. "The game is evolving. You see a lot of different people breaking barriers in a lot of different ways. This is just another one of those."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant also had nothing but good words for Collins, saying that the veteran center's act of courage will have an effect beyond the basketball court.

"His impact is greater than what people think," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "You look at it from the context of having the first openly gay player. But they missed the domino effect that it has way beyond sports."

Bryant, one of famous athletes to respond to Collins after admitting he's gay, said that Collins' act will have a great impact not only to the sports community, but also on the youth. Bryant pointed out that Collins' braveness will teach the youth that "it's OK to be yourself."

"I think the most important part about it, what I've learned on the issue is that one person coming out is showing this type of courage that gives others that same type of courage," Bryant said. "It's dealing with a lot of issues for kids who are afraid to be themselves. Afraid to be themselves because of the peer pressure that comes with it."

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