Being the first active male athlete in one of the major professional sports to come out was a pretty big hurdle in itself, according to Jason Collins, who revealed that he's gay in an essay for Sports Illustrated last week. But doing so as an African-American added "another dimension" to his revelation, the NBA player tells Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey asked Collins if he had considered the "stigma" attached to being gay within the African-American culture.
"I think that has to do with a lot of just how hand-in-hand the church is with the African-American community. And trust me, I grew up in a very religious family," Collins said in an interview for Oprah's Next Chapter. "I knew as an African-American that it adds another dimension to the discussion."
Collins said he looked to his uncle, who's gay, as a role model — but also got unconditional support from the rest of his family when he came out to them at age 33, even though his parents never suspected he was gay.
"After he told us ... on the way home we called him, and on the way home we said, 'We love you,'" his mother, Portia, told Winfrey.
Watch clips from Collins' interview with Oprah below.