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    Kobe Bryant on Jason Collins Coming Out as Gay: "As His Peers We Have to Support Him"

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    Jason Collins, Kobe Bryant
    Jason Collins, Kobe Bryant AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, Todd Williamson/WireImage

    The long list of Jason Collins supporters continues to grow.

    After coming out as a gay man—and being the first active player in a major team sport to do so—Collins has gained numerous nods of respect for his courage from Hollywood. Tonight, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant echoed those kind words at the An Unforgettable Evening benefiting EIF's Women's Cancer Research Fund, saying that he believes Collins has paved the way for other gay athletes to be open about their sexuality.

    WATCH: Jason Collins' ex-fiancée, Carolyn Moos, reacts to the NBA player coming out as gay

    "The biggest key is for everybody to be comfortable being themselves. That's really the big key," Bryant told E! News.

    "You don't want to walk around feeling like you're just a shell of yourself. I think him coming out was really brave. As his peers we have to support him, just rally around him and hopefully everybody else comes out and be themselves in who they are."

    The Black Mamba also gave Collins props when the story first broke, tweeting, "Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage#support#mambaarmystandup#BYOU."

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