Former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone told a San Francisco Bay Area radio station that he is proud of Jason Collins for coming out.
"Let's just cut through the skinny ... I'm proud of the young man," Malone told 95.7 FM on Thursday. "Isn't it about time that we stopped wasting so much time on what a person prefers?"
Collins, who revealed on Monday that he is a homosexual, is the first openly gay player in major U.S. pro sports history.
Malone also talked about former teammate John Amaechi, who came out after he retired in 2007, and his gay brother-in-law.
"I played with a teammate, John Amaechi, who was gay," Malone said. "He didn't just wake up and say, 'I'm gay today.' He was gay then. 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, a 12-year NBA veteran, is a free agent. He played six games for the Washington Wizards this season.
"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport," he wrote in this week's cover story for Sports Illustrated. "But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. 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."