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.

"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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