TROY, N.Y. – The Capital Region's response Monday to NBA center Jason Collins' announcement to come out as gay was overwhelmingly supportive.
The 34-year-old is the first player in any of the four major American sports leagues to come out as homosexual while still pursuing his career.
For years, Collins participated in a basketball camp at the Boys and Girls Club in Troy, and some of his family was raised in the Collar City.
A local pastor said he couldn't be more proud and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community said the announcement would open the doors for so many others.
"There is a lot more to come but we need to take a step back and celebrate the small victory," said Phillip Burse of In Our Own Voices, an organization in Albany that not only focuses on the LGBT community, but also those within that community of color.
They said they couldn't be happier with Jason Collins' announcement.
In Troy, where Collins helped out with a number of basketball camps, those who knew were also very supportive.
Collins is now a free agent after a half-season with the Washington Wizards but said he would like to continue his NBA career.
President Obama also supported Collins' announcement, saying he was impressed by his courage.