Miami Heat voice support for Jason Collins

Published On: May 01 2013 04:02:18 PM EDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 08:10:56 AM EDT

The Miami Heat offered a strong show of support for Jason Collins, who announced he was gay in a column for Sports Illustrated.

With the announcement Monday, Collins became the first openly gay active male athlete in American team sports.

"I think it's very cool," said LeBron James. "None us should go around wondering what other people think -- we should be as human beings. I think it's very strong of him. I think it's very noble of him. I got the utmost respect for Jason and for whatever he wants to do."

Mike Miller, who played with Collins on the Memphis Grizzlies, described him as a "great teammate and great person."

"I'm happy for him," said Miller. "If he's happy, I'm happy. I was able to be a teammate of his -- [he's] a great teammate, a great person, and I'm happy he's happy.

Forward Chris Andersen echoed those sentiments.

"Hopefully, it does show other people he is different and it is okay to be different," he said. "Of course he will be a great leader. For him to be a professional all those years and hide who he was shows what a great teammate he really was."

"Good for him," said coach Erik Spoelstra. "I'm sure it's something he's been thinking about for a long time, probably a big pressure off of his shoulders now. NBA is a fraternity. [It's] good to see players in that fraternity support him."

"I support him and I applaud him," said Shane Battier.

"First thing I thought was good for him," said Ray Allen.

The Heat were practicing ahead of the second round of the NBA playoffs. Miami will face the winner the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets.

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