Jason Collins says the support that he's received since coming out has been "incredible."


Jason Collins talks to George Stephanopoulos (ABC News)

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that was aired Tuesday morning, Collins says that he believes people are ready to support an openly gay basketball player. The 34-year-old Collins became the first active player in one of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues to come out as gay, doing so in a first-person article posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website.

He described it as lifting a huge weight off his shoulders. "I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I've ever been in my life," he said. "A huge weight has been lifted. I've already been out to my family and my friends, but just to, you know, sort of rip the Band-Aid off and come out on my own terms."

Collins told interviewer George Stephanopoulos that he never set out to be the first openly gay player. He also says he doesn't know of any other NBA players who are gay but hopes other gay athletes will "raise their hand" and join him.

The 34-year-old, who once played for the New Jersey Nets is a free agent this year and does not believe that his coming out will have an effect on getting a new contract. "The NBA is like a brotherhood," he said. "And I'm looking at it that we'll all support each other on and off the court."

The Associated Press contributed to this story